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Skeena Voices | ‘Happy, glad, sad’: The emotions of retirement

“Big Bob” Park is closing the doors of All Seasons Source for Sports after 50 years of business
“Big Bob” Park at All Seasons Source for Sports on March 8, 2022. The store is closing on March 26 after 50 years of business in Terrace. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)

All Seasons Source for Sports is closing on March 26, and Bob Park is moving on to his next chapter after half a century of selling sporting goods to the Terrace community.

“It’s happy, sad, glad … it’s a very long time to say goodbye, it’s very emotional and quite a rock and roll,” Park said from his store, All Seasons Source for Sports, on Lakelse Ave.

“I just want to thank Terrace.”

He was first hired at the store in 1972 at the ripe age of 14, after moving to Terrace from Alberta when his parents took over the golf course as greenskeeper pro managers. Park said moving to Terrace was tough initially, and he experienced bullying due to his short stature, but that experience made him stronger. Now, Park is affectionately known by many in Terrace as “Big Bob.”

Joining a sports store was a natural fit, because Park was surrounded by sports from a young age. His father was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1950s and was a high-end hockey coach.

Park made a huge decision and bought into the store in 1977, when he was 18. He described the first years at the store as “fabulous,” especially after moving to the second location which currently houses Sandpipers Boutique (formerly Gemma’s).

“Our sales went up like 10 times when we moved to Gemma’s and things just rolled for many years,” he said.

“And then of course, things got rougher and you learned the lessons and you go along as you go. But very proud of what we’ve built. We’ve had over 250 employees in 50 years.”

Park said that the challenges he has faced over the years are common to any business, like hiring staff, competition and fluctuations in the economy.

One of the biggest challenges was the opening of Canadian Tire, which vacuumed up over 30 per cent of Park’s sales, but the store was able to weather it, thanks to a loyal base of customers. He also said that moving locations was also a problem at points in career.

“I had some of my roughest times when we were expanding and too busy, that’s when we really got hit. Not being able to buy enough because we didn’t have the cash because we were too busy.”

Park has been trying to sell his building for the past decade, a process he described as awful. But now the building is sold, and for the past couple weeks, Park has been busy telling customers that the store is closing and preparing for retirement.

“Like I said, I’m happy, glad, sad, I’ve had a lot of wet eyes the last two weeks.”

When the time final comes to walk away later this month, Park said that having extra time will allow him to get back into playing sports, namely golf. He will also be spending more time on his hobby of making intarsia wood art.