Hi, my name is Mike and I started The Depot in 2005. I dropped out of Concordia University while I was studying civil engineering and marketing to open up a small tobacco shop in the front yard of my home, not exactly what most would call a wise decision. But I quickly found my passion for entrepreneurship as I started to make good relationships; It was the first time in my life that I felt like I found a sense of purpose.
It started off as a very small 12 x 14 shed basically and within five years of growing my client base I had to change locations. The original store’s capacity had quickly been outgrown when I started to realize that my clients wanted other products other than just tobacco-related products and accessories. I expanded it into Electronics: TVs and speakers; and started selling cannabis accessories and some convenience items. After a couple years of selling those items, my albeit short time in school helped me realize that a lot of clients wanted to gas up as well; so that became the next step.
It’s been a dream that I’ve had since I was 20 years old to have a one stop shop where community members can come see a familiar face and shop for what they need; A bit of a community hub. The Depot, which had now added Sweetgreen and Black Friday Electronics; eventually had to become something greater, so I created Little Tree to have all of the brands under one roof. I’ve always been a very customer centric person and I like giving clients what they want.
I definitely could not have been able to do it without good team members. In fact it took a couple years for me to find the right ones, and if I remember correctly, which I do, my first employee was my mom lol (Thanks again mom ❤️)
It was definitely not an easy journey, those first two years were incredibly stressful and I burnt out. I was working 15 hour days seven days a week while going to University. In 2018 we had a fire which burned down my sisters existing CrossFit gym and the new Little Tree location where I was planning expanding into and it was just before everything was ready. That was an extremely challenging time and I thought about giving up.
But today, I am very proud of the store and how it operates. The team has grown to almost 20 people and I like to think it’s created a positive impact on their lives, and also the community’s. I think It helped create the life I originally set out to create for myself. I look forward to creating more relationships with clients, team members and new suppliers and making a greater impact in the community. I’m very excited to continue innovating new products and services that will bring Little Tree into the next decade to keep it relevant and fresh for the community.