For sisters Sandy and Sherry Findlay, family and business have long been deeply intertwined.
It was back in the mid-1980s when their father, Keith, opened the very first Tim Hortons on Vancouver Island.
First he brought in Sherry – then a business owner in Edmonton – to help. As years went on, opportunities to open and run more Tim Hortons restaurants on the island appeared and Sherry convinced Sandy to join in on the growing family business.
Now, the sisters own or manage more than 10 Tim Hortons restaurants combined.
Meanwhile the children they raised while steering those restaurants to success – including Sherry’s daughter Jodell, now a Tim Hortons owner, and granddaughter Kylie, as well as Sandy’s son Taylor and daughter Hayley – continue in some form in their footsteps.
With this month marking 35 years since the family opened their first Tim Hortons, Sandy and Sherry looked back on their journeys as entrepreneurs, moms and siblings.
Can you walk us through what it was like raising families while you were running multiple successful restaurants?
SHERRY: When I got involved helping my dad run his Tim Hortons locations, my daughter was only four years old. But that didn’t slow me down – my dad helped a lot when both of us weren’t in the restaurant at the same time. And now, my daughter Jodell runs her own restaurants on Vancouver Island. Her daughter has even started to pick up some shifts at the restaurant to help out. It’s truly a full circle – four generations helping to grow the business here on Vancouver Island.
SANDY: My son was around the restaurant from a very early age. He was interested in Tim Hortons as soon as he was old enough to realize what it was we were doing. He hung around the restaurants and wanted to come to work with me just so he could be there and learn.
With my daughter, we started her working behind the counter and it was just an incredible opportunity and perfect fit for her. She kind of fell in love with it and it helped her come out of her shell a bit.
What is it like to have your legacy continued through to the next generations of your family?
SHERRY: It feels great. My daughter, Jodell, worked with us for years as a teenager. And to see her journey from a part-time team member to a full-time owner, following in our footsteps, makes me incredibly proud. She loves the job and says it’s exactly what she’s cut out to do.
As two sisters with at least a career in common, did you lean on each other for support along the way?
SANDY: I leaned on Sherry. She taught me everything. I worked for her for 12 years before I became an owner. She’s naturally got more brains than me – I’ve got more personality, she’s got more brains (laughs).
Honestly, I don’t know how I would have done it without her support and guidance through it all. The entire experience and our journey has been so great for us. It has bonded us in a different way than we ever had before. It’s also brought our entire family closer together.
SHERRY: We share all our experiences together and bounce ideas off each other. We all mutually understand the highs and lows of owning a business and thrive off the support we give each other. It’s made everything along the way so much more enjoyable.
We’re four generations combined, with so many more opportunities ahead of us. We’re excited for us, for our kids and theirs.