By Nathan and Chantal Roy
We opened our Pita Pit franchise in Moncton, N.B., earlier this year, as we felt there was a strong opportunity to increase brand awareness in the community. Our restaurant is designed with accessibility features, which is very important to us on a personal level, as we’ve seen what our two children with cerebral palsy have had to deal with every day.
I was born in 1969 in Bathurst, N.B. It was a pretty small community where most people worked in either nickel mining or forestry. There were limited options for fun for us kids as we were growing up in the area, but when I was seven years old, we moved to Riverview, a suburb of Moncton. Being a much bigger city, Moncton had a lot to offer and there were always things to do.
My mother worked with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), a national, not-for-profit, charitable home and community care organization. My father sold medical supplies. They’re both retired now.
I have one sister who’s two years younger than me. She works in Moncton today for the federal government. We had a good upbringing and our parents could always provide for us.
From the age of six until I was in university, I wanted to be a dentist. It was the lifestyle that was appealing. When I would go to an appointment with my own dentist, I always noticed he had a nice car. In fact, he bought a new one every year! I was already a car freak.
I was also entrepreneurial from a young age. While I came from a very medical family, given my parents’ career, my dad’s side was actually more tradespeople. He was an old-style salesman, all about service and customer relationships. The product didn’t matter; he always focused on the personal side of the business.
Finally, at 12 years old, I got my own route. That was my first real experience in buying and selling. And it was my turn to have another friend help me out with the route from time to time!
I got a job at a Sobey’s grocery store when I was 16. I started out packing bags for the customers and worked my way up from there. I enjoyed getting into a position where I could be a bit of a boss, with subordinates answering to me. While working at a supervisor at Sobey’s, I tried to become a mentor to the other employees. As I’d learned from my dad, you get better results with honey than vinegar, so I would go out of my way to help people.
Back then, in my summer months, I would do my paper route, go pump gas at a ‘gas n’ wash’ station for four hours, then work a night shift at Sobey’s, which paid better than a day shift. I was always driven to work hard!