Furniture retailer Gordy Dodd earns Lifetime Achievement Award from chamber

The man who will not be undersold is being sold and feted as a pillar of the Victoria business community.

Gordy Dodd, founder of Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress and star of a 40-year TV ad campaign that has seen him take on dozens of roles, including James Bond, the Incredible Hulk and Bob Barker, has been given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

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It’s an award that recognizes Dodd’s commitment to the community as much as it is a nod to his business success and longevity.

“Gordy’s story deserves to be told. Anyone who has spent time in our city knows who Gordy is, has seen him on TV and recognized his talent for promotion," said Al Hasham, chair of the chamber’s board of governors. “But there’s so much more to Gordy. He cares so much about his community and has taken action to improve the lives of many, many people.”

The soft-spoken Dodd started the furniture business with a small store at the corner of Quadra Street and Kings Road in 1977 and grew it into a three-store chain in Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.

Throughout that 41-year span, Dodd has made a commitment to give back to the community that has supported him along the way.

“This [award} means a lot to me, it gives me happiness,” said Dodd, noting the recognition he has been given by organizations such as the chamber spurs him on to do more. “It gives me energy, you know, to do more, to give back more to the community. It is a boost.”

Dodd, now semi-retired from the furniture stores that bear his name, said he has committed more of his time and energy these days to philanthropic endeavour.

“I do focus on that, whatever we can do we always do,” he said.

Just recently, Dodd filled a moving truck with clothing, food and other items for Our Place, and for 20 years he has also sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner for the most vulnerable citizens in the city. That dinner has since been expanded to Nanaimo and Campbell River and is offered at Christmas as well.

Last year, more than 4,000 people were able to enjoy a festive meal thanks to Dodd and his team.

Dodd said there is a chance the Island could solve its homelessness issue if everyone started thinking more about those who are less fortunate.

“It’s not such a big problem,” he said, noting he is going to continue to work toward a solution. “We have lots of rich people living on the Island, lots of nice people and senior people who are always trying to do these kinds of things. It could be solved.”

Dodd hopes his efforts inspire others to be grateful for having an opportunity to live a good life, and the chance to make a positive difference.

Being given an award for a lifetime of work has also given the 73-year-old some pause to reflect on his own journey.

“I look from where I started and where I am — God has given me everything. I have a good business, good family and good friends and we are living in a beautiful country and a beautiful city,” he said, noting his 41 years in Victoria have been spent among helpful, kind people.

“I’m pretty happy.”

Dodd and wife Ravinder came to Canada from the Punjab region of northern India in 1972, settling originally in northern B.C. before stints in northern Alberta, where he learned the furniture game.

His first furniture store opened in Victoria had 2,500 square feet of space. He eventually moved to his current Victoria site at 715 Finlayson St. across from Mayfair Shopping Centre.

He would tear down that building to establish the three-storey building he has now. He has since expanded to Nanaimo and Campbell River.

His son, Love, and daughter, Aman, work for the company.

The award will be presented to Dodd at the chamber’s annual awards dinner May 16 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Awards will be presented in 13 categories, including Chamber Member of the Year, who is Rose Arsenault of Talentcor. Finalists for the rest of the awards will be announced in February.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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