Up Close and Personal with Joanne, Partner, The Office Shop

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Joanne and I am a Partner at The Office Shop, alongside my sister Helen.  We thought we could take this calm time as an opportunity to let our valued customers get to know us.  I’m excited to share this personal part of myself with you and to walk you through the journey I have taken to become a partner at The Office Shop:

I have always been voracious when it comes to my career. I was raised by a traditional European family and began working at a very young age. My work experience taught me the value of hard work and earning my own money at a very young age. They also made me passionate about obtaining an education.

During my post-secondary schooling, my career path guided me to major in Business Computers Systems at Seneca College. I worked at a software company during my academic career and graduated in 1995. My sister, Helen, worked for OE Direct and recruited me; I sold office furniture in Markham for almost 2 years before they closed their stores. It was then that Helen and I had the idea to open The Office Shop. We saved money and put all of our devotion to opening our own store – I was 23 years old at the time. In November 1996, staying in our hometown of Markham, we were open for business. We worked 7 days a week and assembled our own furniture so that we could fill our empty showroom (I am very handy!). Helen took the administrative and book-keeping role in the business, while I was responsible for product and operations. Still both living at home, we were fortunate to have the financial support of not paying rent and always having food on the table.

Since then, I have gotten married to my husband Nick, and we had our son, Louie, in 2000, just two years into our marriage. Starting our family happened a little sooner than planned, although it was truly a blessing looking back. A few short years later, we welcomed our daughter, Stefanie in 2002. Having a family and running a business was not always easy, but we put in the time and dedication to make it work.

All of these experiences have made me the person I am today. When asked, the three words that best describe me, I would say I am compassionate, outgoing, and dedicated. A few fun facts about me are I have loved to travel from a young age. As a child, my parents would take us camping all over the map from Atlantic City, Cape Cod, to PEI – just to name a few. I am fortunate to travel now as a family of 4, making new memories each time. In my downtime, I love to relax by swimming or simply reading by the pool, and listening to music. Among my hobbies, gardening is the one I love most. I grow almost all my vegetables in the summer. Even though I love to ski, I do favour the summer outdoor activities most. The best lesson I have learned between my professional life and my personal life is to give it all you got and be happy doing it.