TYNE VALLEY, P.E.I. — Summer time sequence: That is the fifth story in a sequence about rural normal shops throughout P.E.I. that provide providers to residents and guests and stand as landmarks that proceed to form their communities.
Paul Dillon remembers properly how he and his spouse, Lorna, used to maneuver round quite a bit previously due to his job at Zellers.
“It was eight occasions I moved in six years. And that wasn’t how we needed to boost our youngsters, at all times being the brand new youngsters on the block,” he informed SaltWire in an interview Aug. 23.
Paul grew up in Summerside, and Lorna is from Tyne Valley. They each knew they needed to return to Prince Edward Island and set down roots. So, in 2011, they bought MacNeill’s Comfort Retailer, a long-standing fixture in Tyne Valley, permitting them to boost their household in a close-knit neighborhood. It grew to become Dillon’s Comfort and Pizzeria.
Paul stated he has loved every day working and connecting together with his prospects through the previous 12 years working the enterprise.
“I do know 99 per cent of the those who stroll by that entrance door, and possibly the one per cent that I do not know, we normally discover out fairly fast, you recognize, ‘Hey, how are you? The place are you from? I do know you are not from round right here.’ So yeah, there’s that outdated time allure of working a enterprise like this within the small neighborhood like Tyne Valley,” he stated.
“I am going to let you know, to do what we did, you bought to actually love your neighborhood.”
Over time, the couple have made a lot of modifications to the unique retailer. The newest addition is The Den, the expanded restaurant space. Earlier than that, the shop simply had a small eating spot.
Mitchell Ellands, who’s a daily, was at The Den with a coworker, ready for his or her lunch order when SaltWire stopped by. He stated it is a good place to hang around.
“Me and my different associates will meet up right here and we’ll have a beer and a few fries or no matter. You recognize, it’s simply good place to be across the Valley. It is a good staple for Tyne Valley,” stated the Tyne Valley resident.
The Den was a major mission Paul had envisioned even earlier than COVID-19, however it confronted delays as a result of pandemic, and he couldn’t discover any carpenters to do the work.
Buddies from the neighborhood got here to assist him throughout their free evenings, and so they bought the job completed after a number of months.
“I do not even wish to take into consideration what number of nights I used to be right here about three or 4 o’clock within the morning, go dwelling to 2 or three hours sleep and again the subsequent morning. However, you recognize, it did not look like work while you personal it, and also you get pleasure from what you are doing,” he stated.
His spouse performed an enormous position in designing this expanded eating space, creating a comfy house with native rustic allure.
“I at all times stated if it was as much as me, every part’s beige partitions and darkish ground. All the color schemes and every part you see in right here, that is my spouse. She’s bought a imaginative and prescient after which she has a laser focus to attain that imaginative and prescient,” Paul stated.
Past meals service and groceries, Paul has branched out to various things. The shop participates within the P.E.I. College Meals Program, doing catering and offering lunches to Ellerslie Elementary through the college yr. It’s additionally been a vendor on the Rock the Boat Music Competition since its inception in 2013.
The work can typically get powerful, however his spouse’s help retains him going, Paul stated.
“Generally after I get sort of pissed off a bit, my spouse’s at all times there to sort of say, ‘OkK, Paul, you recognize, we will do that and we’ll attempt that. Behind each profitable man is a extra profitable girl. And I most likely match into that class.”
Thriving regardless of challenges
The core elements of the enterprise stay the pizzeria, with its continually evolving menu, and the grocery part. Paul stated he at all times ensures important objects like bread, milk, and ketchup can be found to save lots of prospects a visit to city.
“You bought to create what your area of interest is. We’re 25 minutes from Summerside, so that you wish to make sure that (you may have) your staple objects that your prospects count on you to have,” he stated.
Regardless of challenges small companies like his are dealing with like inflation and rising prices, Paul stated he goals to maintain costs inexpensive as a approach to give again to the neighborhood.
There have been different challenges over time – the most important being the pandemic – however the enterprise has persevered.
“What would not kill you makes you stronger. So, we’re nonetheless right here, and we’re nonetheless plugging away. And I nonetheless sit up for each morning, getting up. I am normally up fairly early.
“And I do not know if there’s too many mornings that after I’ve walked by the entrance doorways – and it is nonetheless darkish exterior and I am doing issues – that I’d have needed to be wherever else. So, when you can say that, you have most likely put your self in a class that you simply’re very, very lucky.”