A Business that Reflects the Community: Circle K-Subway’s Commitment to Inclusion

Community has always been at the heart of how Circle K-Subway does business, because it is the basis of where Circle K-Subway does business. Since 1961 Circle K Stores (formerly Mac’s Convenience) have served Canadians, in hundreds of communities large and small throughout Ontario and Western Canada. As such, the company understands the value of inclusion, and employing people who directly reflect the communities that they service. For Circle K, inclusion equals success.

“We strive to be the best convenience store there is. It’s about bringing together people from all walks of life, all cultures, all ethnicities, all ages. We are very inclusive of everybody”, says Julie Stewart, Field Trainer and Recruiter at Circle K since 2004. It’s that dedication that brought Circle K together with Ready, Willing and Able to help further their aims of inclusive employment.

Julie recounts the day she first heard about Ready, Willing and Able- “I thought, what an awesome project!” Julie quickly coordinated with the RWA National team and selected three senior store managers at different locations in Southern Ontario as a launching point for the RWA partnership. Through this partnership, managers were able to connect with qualified job seekers, all while utilizing the experience and expertise of RWA and the HR team at Circle K. It didn’t take long to see that this innovative collaboration was paying off- all stores found excellent new employees and an exciting new way of recruiting “individuals into the Circle K family.”

Barb Saddlemire in Winchester, hired Terrance, a young man who was previously a regular at the Circle K Winchester location. Barb has been very impressed with Terrance, noting that he “picks up on everything Iickity split!” When asked about the transition, she notes, “it’s been fun!” and “smooth”: “He is great with the customers, the customers love him.”

In Prescott, Jennifer Baker worked with RWA, and local community partner Brockville and District Associate for Community Involvement, to hire Anthony. Jennifer has seen her team develop as a result of hiring Anthony. She said, “he works with different team members, and if he has any questions, or needs any guidance the whole team has been able to come together.” When asked how hiring inclusively has impacted the workplace as a whole, Jennifer stated that, “I think it is wonderful. Everyone checks the schedule to see when Anthony is working, because they all like working alongside him!”

Lori Boyce, the Assistant Manager of Circle K in Marmora has also seen many of these same successes. Through connecting with RWA, Lori and the store manager she works with were able to welcome Crystal to their team. Lori was immediately impressed by Crystal’s work ethic. Lori recounted, “On her very first day I asked Crystal to dust the grocery shelves, and the product. And she said OK, and I will look for out-dated product while I do that.”

Circle K-Subway has found nothing but success in working with RWA to further their community inclusion goals, and look forward to building on this partnership. When the various Circle K Managers were asked if they would recommend pursuing inclusive employment as a means of addressing their labour needs, all were enthusiastically positive in their responses. Julie Stewart said, “Do it today. You are going to get a very enthusiastic employee who is going to be a top member of your team. Going forward, we expect the inclusion of employees with disabilities to be a natural component of the Circle K family culture.”