As Canada celebrates it's 150th year since confederation, we take a look at the path the Dodd family took to becoming Canadians.
Gurdial or "Gordy" Dodd was born in a small village at the foot of the Himalayas in India’s Punjab region. One of seven children, Gordy's father was a teacher and didn't have time to work the family's 50 acres. So, after earning a bachelor's degree, Gordy took up growing produce and raising cattled. However, there simply wasn't enough land to divide among his siblings and work was scarce in the village, so Gordy and is wife Ravinder began to consider a new life in Canada. Gordy's sister was living in Canada and helped convince the young couple to make the move. “We were always hearing that Canada was a beautiful country.”
And so after immigrating to Victoria in 1977, Gordy and Ravinder wasted no time establishing themselves in the community. Gordy drove cab while watching for opportunities. Opportunity knocked fairly quickly in the form of a cramped commercial space at Quadra and King Street. Here, Gordy and Ravinder opened a discount furniture store. A $1,200 investment in a small truck got the business rolling. Gordy would travel to Vancouver to pick up a few sofas or dining-room sets to sell in Victoria. He paid cash because he couldn’t get credit. The store was open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and, after closing, Gordy did deliveries, often finishing at 11 p.m. or midnight. There was no money to hire staff. Gordy repeatedly credits Ravinder for the work she put into the business, doing double-duty while caring for son Love (now a partner in the business) and daughter Aman at the same time. “My wife helped me a lot.”
All their hard work helped inspire the Dodds to help others. Their community work includes Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and their annual Walk for Peace in support of Victoria Hospice. They donate to the elementary school in Gordy's home village of Jalwehra and arrange medical clinics, bringing in doctors to provide treatment and medicines. So far, more than 55 eye operations have been performed.
The Dodds believe in treating others with respect. Gordy shakes the hands of all staff when he enters the store. When speaking to students about business, he encourages them to be kind, courteous and reflect at day’s end on whether they have done something that made them feel good.
Gordy's siblings are all in Canada now and the Dodd family has grown to include a new generation of Canadians. The family now owns and operates three locations in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Campbell River where they continue to support and engage in the community. Happy 150th, Canada from the Dodd family!