Rhonda Pardy and her nephew Greg Crisanti are the new owners of Moosomin’s Tim Hortons.Pardy started the first Tim Hortons in Brandon and now is involved in eight Tim Hortons in Brandon, Western Manitoba, and now Moosomin. Crisanti is a partner in the rural locations in Moosomin, Virden, and Neepawa.

New owners for Moosomin Tim Hortons

January 23, 2019 11:08 am
Kevin Weedmark

Rhonda Pardy and Greg Crisanti, the new owners of Moosomin’s Tim Hortons, have a lot of experience with the franchise.

Pardy and her husband opened the first Tim Hortons in Brandon in 2001, and Pardy, whose husband passed away three years ago, now has eight locations in Brandon and the surrounding area.

“When we moved to Brandon we thought it needed a Tim’s, and we put in our application and we waited five years and finally got awarded the first franchise in Brandon,” Pardy explains. We built it up and now have five restaurants in Brandon. Greg was going to university and working for us part time and wanted to get into business so we took Greg on as a partner and he became a partner in our mall location in Brandon. Within a month we were offered the Virden location so we purchased it and Greg became a partner in it and then we got Neepawa and now we’ve got Moosomin. Greg is a partner in all of those with me. My kids are also involved, so we focus mostly in Brandon and Greg focuses mostly on the restaurants outside the city.”

Tim Hortons number nine for the family business will be under construction in the spring.

Both Pardy and Crisanti have business in their blood. Pardy is the daughter of the late Merv Dillabough, longtime owner of the Canadian Tire in Brandon, and Crisanti’s father was Vince Crisanti, who owned Cellular Communications Plus.

Other family members are involved in the Tim Hortons operation as well. Pardy explains, “there’s myself, Greg, Greg’s wife is just coming off maternity leave—they met at Tim Hortons so they have a Tim Hortons love story—my sister does all of our accounting, my son and his fiance both work for me, my daughter is finishing her business diploma now and she’s involved, so it’s great, it’s a real family business.”

Pardy says she has seen many changes in her years with Tim Hortons franchises.

“It’s changed so much in so many ways,” she says. “It was a much simpler business when we first got involved. The business has evolved, it’s grown to a larger menu and higher volumes. We’re serving more customers every day. The expectations have gone up, our competitors have improved, so it’s a more dynamic business than it was and it’s a more difficult business than it was. The employee situation is far more difficult. When we first got in we got 20 applications a day and then there have been periods where we didn’t get 20 applications in a year and we brought in foreign workers and we’ve had to get a lot more creative always adapting.”

Between the various locations they employ 300 people, and estimate they serve 15,000 customers a day between all the locations.

Crisanti will focus on rural locations
Crisanti says he enjoys being part of the business.

“It’s been great,” he says. “It’s always busy, every day is different, it’s fast-paced, you get to meet tons of people, and your staff are like family.”

He said he will be spending a lot of time in the Moosomin location.

“Most of my time is spent in the rural locations,” he said. “I still have the restaurants in Neepawa and Virden but this is where I’ll be putting a lot of my effort right now.”

He said there will be a bit of a learning curve with the Moosomin location.

“Each location has its own challenges, and for us right now it’s just getting to know the Saskatchewan rules and regulation because we have had all of our restaurants in Manitoba.”

Community focus
Pardy says the company tries to maintain a community focus.

“We’re very fortunate to be able to get involved in some small towns,” she said. “To me, Brandon is just a large small town and we’ve been successful and have really strong roots in Brandon, but now getting into Virden and getting into Neepawa and now Moosomin, you get involved in towns, you get involved with the people. We’ve met such great friends in each of those places.

“Here in Moosomin, they’ve got a fantastic team of people. There’s a good strong base team here but it’s like a new baby, right. This is Greg’s new baby so he’ll be here a lot.”

New opportunity
How exactly did the Moosomin opportunity arise?

“Brandon and Jolene were offered a new opportunity in Lethbridge and wanted to sell the store here and purchase three Lethbridge locations,” explains Pardy.

“This is only half an hour away from Virden and we’ve shown our interest to continue growing, so they came to us and offered us the opportunity. It wasn’t an easy decision because of the distance, but at the end of the day it’s a great location with a strong base staff and a really fun community. We’ve always liked Moosomin so it made the decision a lot easier.”

She said she was meeting a lot of people from the Moosomin area Tuesday, as they officially took over.

“We came in this morning and people already know there is a new boss so we’re introducing ourselves and you feel like you’re already starting to build friendships. We’ve got such good support everywhere we’ve been, it makes coming to work a lot of fun.

“We want to make sure that we can be involved in the community. We’re really proud of what we’ve done in the other places where we do business. Already this morning we’re getting texts from existing Tim Horton owners in Saskatchewan saying welcome, are you a Riders fan yet? By seven this morning we started getting the texts.

Strong markets
Crisanti says each of the rural communities they operate in is a strong market.

“In each of our towns we have a strong local base of regular customers and it’s not just that rural community that’s supporting us, but all the communities around.

“In Virden we are getting customers from all the surrounding communities, in Neepawa we are getting people from all the surrounding communities that like to come in for coffee and do business.”

Pardy gives her nephew credit for making their rural locations a strong part of the community.

“Greg has done such a good job getting involved in the Chambers and in the communities and the Tim Bits Hockey and Soccer and all of those types of thing,” she says. “He has done such a great job of getting involved in the communities and making friendships. We support their community and they support our business.”

Crisanti said he hopes to continue the work that Brandon and Jolene had done with the Tim Hortons Eventplex.

“They did a great job on that and we really want to continue,” he said.

Timbits hockey
Pardy adds that she would like to introduce Timbits hockey to Moosomin.

“I would really like to see Timbits Hockey in Moosomin,” she said. “It’s one of the few communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan that doesn’t have Timbits hockey so we would really like to see if there is an opportunity to get our Timbits players playing in Moosomin. We were surprised to see that it wasn’t here already. I know the majority of the rural communities in Saskatchewan have Timbit players on the ice so it might be an opportunity for us to take away a lot of the expenses for some of the parents. With the Timbits, we pick up those expenses. It might allow some new little kids on the ice that don’t have the opportunity to play right now.

“It’s the entry level—four, five and six year olds. Not everybody can afford to get their kids involved. Maybe that is an opportunity that we’ll have here.

“We have Timbits soccer and baseball here and they are very strong and have grown. We get new players every year and it’s continuing to grow, so maybe we can do that with hockey too.”

New initiatives
“I think there are going to be opportunities where we can do some new things and have some new partnerships with people in Moosomin as well,” says Pardy.

“It is just a fantastic community that has a lot of great people in the surrounding communities as well.

“When my dad was a Canadian Tire dealer, he used to say yeah there are 50,000 people in Brandon but there are 110,000 surrounding that we are supporting. It is the same thing here. I think there are a lot of people in the surrounding area we are serving too.”

High hopes
Both owners have high hopes for the new location.

“It’s a great location to have and we just want to get more involved with the community, and build from there,” says Cristanti.

“We want to grow,” adds Pardy. “We want more customers coming through our door. At the end of the day, the more customers you have coming through the door, the more of an opportunity you’ll have to give back to the community and we’re really big on that. We’re huge on that. If we can continue to grow the business and welcome people in, we’re doing something right.”