Allison Kilby started working for her dad at Home Hardware when she was 13-years-old. At first, he had her breaking-down boxes, tarring the roof and gardening.
“After I proved myself doing the dirty jobs, he got me on cash and then slowly just started to gain momentum,” she said.
Now owner-operator of the family-run business, Kilby has been recognized with a Vancouver Island Top 20 Under 40 Business and Community Achievement Award.
Many members of the community, as well as people from the Home Hardware head office wrote letters supporting Allison for the award.
“It’s nice to be thought of like that,” she said, tearing up just a little bit.
Since Kilby’s great-great-great grandfather opened the business 80 years ago, the family has focused on giving back to the community.
“He wanted to make sure that was part of his every day doing,” Kilby said. “And it has passed on.”
Kilby said they get at least one donation request a week and do as much as they can, donating both supplies as well as expertise.
This year one of the bigger projects she is excited about is the Robron Fieldhouse. Home Hardware is donating the interior and exterior paint for the project.
But the donations go beyond community groups to supporting employees and their community projects.
“The general rule here is if our employees are involved in something we will contribute in some way shape or form,” she said. “If you are looking for paint sticks for your guide craft we will do it, just to support that employee as well and their activities in the community.”
And perhaps due to the supportive environment, there isn’t a lot of employee turnover at Home Hardware. At the yearly Christmas party they celebrate years reigning and Kilby is proud to say they have handed out many 10, 20 and 25 year recognitions.
”We believe in training them,” Kilby said. “That’s our biggest asset, employees…If you look around it’s just a store with stuff in it. What makes us different is the people that can give you the knowledge to use it.”
Though Kilby doesn’t have much spare time, any she does have she spends with her kids and she is proud that she and her husband, who owns Campbell River Hyundai, are raising daughters who will contribute to society when they grow up.
“They’ve got two working parents and they understand that when you get up in the morning your going to get a job, your going to work, that’s just how we run it,” she said.