“Big Bob, he’s got it all in one.”
For many people living in northwestern B.C., this TV commercial jingle of a sporting goods store in Terrace couldn’t sound more familiar, and brings back memories of the good old days — including laugh-out-loud moments thanks to the famously wacky ad spots.
But All Seasons Source For Sports, currently located at 4555 Lakelse Ave., will permanently close on Saturday, after half a century in business and more than a decade being listed on the market for sale.
The retailer specializes in equipment for all sorts of sports, such as hockey, basketball, skiing and snowboarding, as well as fitness equipment and apparel. It draws customers not only locally, but also from neighbouring communities such as Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Hazelton.
Owner Bob Park’s retirement announcement on social media on March 1 has sparked an outpouring of nostalgia from customers, including memories of the good services his staff provided, and the hilarious commercials he starred in — from talking cash that spooks a customer to a puck trying to avoid a group of hockey players.
“Your store, your character and generosity are iconic to Terrace,” local resident Rory Reinbolt commented. “You are the definition of what a great community booster is … Terrace will miss All Seasons and seeing your smiling face downtown!”
“Enjoy your retirement, [which is] much deserved,” the Hazelton Wolverines hockey team said in a statement.
Park was hired as a clerk at All Seasons when it began in 1972, soon after he moved from Alberta with his parents who managed a golf course and a clubhouse in Terrace. He bought the shop at 18 in 1977.
Park spoke to host Sarah Penton on CBC’s Radio West about his funny commercials, his business and his retirement.
The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.
What’s it like for you to still hear and see those commercials?
You always get a laugh out of them. You always remember you were trying to stand up in the boat, or the script that I threw in the lake because I didn’t like it. It brings back good memories, and we had a lot of fun making those.
You’re shutting down your store this weekend. How are you feeling?
Happy, glad and sad. I’m happy because I’m moving on to a new phase of my life. I’m sad because nobody bought the business to carry on. I’m just glad it’s coming to an end.
We’re talking 50 years here. What change have you seen?
I’ve watched businesses competing against their own suppliers, which is sad. Plus the internet sale, which is the biggest competition regardless of all the suppliers. Online retailers are selling direct through their warehouse locations.
Customers come into the store with phones in their hands, and they scan and check items. Service doesn’t count as much as prices do. It’s been a very big change in that manner.
What kind of response have you gotten from people since you announced that the store is actually going to be closing?
I’m not the kind of person to think of being praised for anything, and I’ve just been blown away. Everything just triggered a whole set of emotions and also revitalized connections that I’ve had since the ’70s. People are congratulating me.
It’s been beautiful, but a little overwhelming and very humbling. I feel really honoured.
What are you going to miss the most?
Making people happy, making sure their shoes fit, making sure they get the right stick … that kind of satisfaction. That is the one part I will miss the most.
Don’t lie — tell me what you’re not going to miss.
Well, the bartering, people wanting everything for nothing … that part of it. I won’t miss as much.
What’s next for you?
Relaxation, little travel … Well, I don’t know. Trying some different hobbies.
Radio West9:41“Big” Bob Park has been part of All Seasons Source for Sports, but this Saturday marks the final day for the store