Meet Dave Ward: the owner of Dave’s Variety store in Delhi, ON.
The residents of Delhi would likely agree that Dave’s Variety is far more than just a variety store.
You can still get all the snacks, magazines, slush puppies, and dew worms that you need – but it’s also where you can go for the missing ingredient to your dinner recipe when the grocery store doesn’t have it.
“People will come in here looking for a spice or something for their meal.... and they’re like, “Oh my god, you’ve got it!”,’ says Dave, who prides himself on always having what people need. “I try to get what people want. Especially through the pandemic, there were times when people couldn’t get anything they needed. But I would go and get it. It’s a lot of hard work; there’s no time to sit behind the counter. Sometimes people will say, “You’re never around!” but it’s because I’m always out getting things [for the store].”
It’s also where you can go for a guaranteed positive experience. “One of the key things is friendly faces,” says Dave. “I’ve never had a staff member that wasn’t a friendly person.”
Dave also tries to keep his staff on the same weekly rotation. “So when you come to Delhi on a certain day of the week, you’re always going to see the same familiar face. That’s important,” he says.
“One of my best memories is when someone came in and asked me to sponsor their team. And I thought... that’s the coolest thing in the world – that someone actually wants my name on their sweater. And next thing you know, there’s a little kid walking in here with a Dave’s Variety soccer jersey on, pointing to the name on the back. That’s one of the biggest things.... the kids.”
Dave has spent many years tirelessly working early mornings and late nights to cater to the community of Delhi. People often ask him when he’s going to retire, to which he responds, “I’ve talked about retiring, but then I think... ‘What would I do? What would it be like?’ We’re part of the community. To actually walk away [one day], will be difficult. So I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing for as long as I can, as long as I am able to help people out.”
Thank you, Dave, for being a pillar of the community!