Businessman Gordon Reid has died aged 89. After spending most of his youth in Montreal, he founded the Giant Tiger chain of discount stores. The first outlet opened in Ottawa, in the ByWard Market, in May 1961. This one is still open.
Giant Tiger arrived in Quebec in 1968, in Maniwaki. The retailer is now present across the country, with 265 branches and 10,000 employees.
The business has remained private and is still owned by the family. Gordon Reid remained CEO until September 2020. At the same time, he handed over his position as chairman of the board to his eldest son.
The man was born in Vancouver. As a child, he moved to Verdun where retail quickly took a place in his life. His mother worked at Woolworth’s in downtown Montreal and he himself was hired at age 13 at Simpson’s. After a few years, he launched businesses in Quebec and Ontario, until he created Giant Tiger.
The expansion of the chain, recognizable by its Friendly mascot, was done through franchises. Gordon Reid received the Retail Council of Canada Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and Ottawa’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.