Giant Tiger is Canada’s leading family-owned discount retailer that is committed to putting its people first – their employees, customers, and the communities
they’re a part of – while making every dollar matter.Giant Tiger is Canada’s leading family-owned discount retailer that is committed to putting its people first – their employees, customers, and the communities they’re a part of – while making every dollar matter.
Established in 1961 at Ottawa’s Byward Market, the privately held company has over 260 locations and employs over 10,000 team members across Canada. Recognized as an Employer of Choice, Giant Tiger is proudly represented by a team of dedicated staff members – some of whom have been with the company for 10, 15, 20, and 30 years – and growth within the company’s trucking division, Tiger Trucking: from 22 to 140 drivers, 83 to 400 trailers, and 23 to 136 trucks. In September 2018, Giant Tiger opened its state-of-the-art distribution centre in Johnstown, ON – a 600,000 sq. ft. facility that is home to 300 full-time employees and features the first symbotic system in Canada.
Giant Tiger’s mission to serve the communities they’re a part of is an integral part of every location across Canada – and James Johnstone, Associate Vice President, Transportation, Giant Tiger, was humbled to share the company’s story with our readership at Private Motor Carrier.
“What makes Giant Tiger special is that all its locations are locally owned or operated by a team member, who knows the community,” says Johnstone. “Our friendly stores in your community are not only about ‘shop more and spend less’ but are also proud to be your community’s retailer of choice.”
Johnstone explains that Giant Tiger aims to do the greatest good as possible for the greatest number of people in the communities they serve. For example, Tiger Trucking’s team of professional drivers have delivered masks and PPE to front-line workers during the onset of the pandemic, emergency supplies to Red Cross, and food to food banks and emergency shelters. “We never hesitate to jump in and help out when needed. We get the call, and we go right away and never have a shortage of volunteers,” says Johnstone.
Johnstone recalls a time when Giant Tiger got the call for volunteers to fill sandbags: “We had no shortage of folks who were coming in after their shift and, after having driven most of the day, didn’t hesitate to jump back in the truck and drive supplies up with people from head office. It was a great initiative and time because there are people who work on our driving force that have relatives, family members or friends that lost their homes or lost substantial parts of their property because of the flood, so it’s a good feeling knowing you’re giving back to people you know and support in your community.”
Giant Tiger also donates over $2 milliondollars annually, to over 700 local associations and charities across Canada. The company’s charitable giving focuses on three main areas – food banks, family physical and mental health, and youth empowerment – and includes the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Girls Fund, BGC Canada’s Giant Tiger Giant Steps program and Indspire.
Giant Tiger’s ‘people first’ approach is a proven factor in the company’s retention rate – for example, Tiger Trucking’s turnover rate for its professional driver is only 2%. Johnstone explains that this statistic (alone) speaks volumes to the workplace culture at Giant Tiger. “We’ve taken all the good things that work at Giant Tiger, made it a great organization over the years, and now apply those same principles to our drivers – which speaks volumes when talking about Giant Tiger’s culture and best practices because we don’t have the same issue with driver turnover as you see in organizations,” says Johnstone. “That’s Giant Tiger’s competitive advantage – our culture and desire to offer the best customer service – so we do the right things for our people, and they take care of our customers. It’s a two-way street: our customers see that involvement and culture and they keep coming back.”
Giant Tiger’s number one priority is employee safety. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Giant Tiger implemented many rules and regulations – that went above and beyond the corporate health guidelines – to ensure that everyone’s safe in the short- and long-term.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty and Giant Tiger did a fantastic job at handling that and calming everyone down. People shifted from the unknown to knowing that [Giant Tiger] had this under control. The company has put the right protocols, policies and procedures in place to create a safe environment that’s focused on the people that make up our customers and our stores,” explains Johnstone. “We have a tremendous demand on our supply chain and we haven’t missed a beat. We have been able to continue without any major disruptions, which is not by chance – we’ve been very prepared in our health and safety teams and all the folks on those committees have done a fantastic job putting them in place and there’s been no apprehension from our drivers around those protocols.”
Safety is also the number one priority for the Tiger Trucking’s team of professional drivers, on and off the road. Giant Tiger’s immaculate safety record and active presence in the community is a direct reflection of the company’s brand and drive for safety. Johnstone explains, “We recognize that when people see a Giant Tiger truck on the road, it represents who we are as a company and we want to send that message that we offer exceptional customer service, our stores are clean, we carry high quality products and that we’re committed to every day low prices. We always want to put our best foot forward and our drivers are our company ambassadors on the road.”
The foundation of the company’s means of creating a safe work environment, giving to charities, and serving communities is its customer service: connecting with people and providing them with the products they need at a price they can afford. Johnstone explains that the company itself is a community and the staff members and professional drivers have great rapport with each store owner and receiver as well as one another.
Giant Tiger recently became a member of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) and Johnstone was recently elected to serve on the Council’s Board of Directors. “As a newly-elected member of the PMTC Board, I feel strongly for advocating for the industry and our involvement,” says Johnstone. “It’s to ensure that private motor carriers such as ourselves and our fellow members, along with the businesses they serve, that we all have a voice and that the interests of private motor carriers are represented on the federal and provincial level.”
Giant Tiger’s fleet was also awarded at the PMTC’s 2021 Vehicle Graphics Design competition, where the company won the Tractor Trailer Award for the best vehicle graphics. “It’s a huge honour to be recognized by your peers in the industry,” says Johnstone. “To me, that’s what means the most – the average individual might see the truck and think, “Wow, that’s a really cool truck and a really cool design,” but when it comes from your peers, who understand all that goes into building and maintaining a fleet and all the work that goes into making everything look great, it really means a lot to have that acknowledgement.”
To learn more about Giant Tiger and its offerings to you and your surrounding communities, visit www.gianttiger.com.