Sudbury business owner at 94-years-old has no plans to retire
SUDBURY -- While many may have countdown clocks to the day when they can finally cash out their pension and enter retirement, one Sudbury-based businessman has no plans of the sort.
At 94-years-young, John Maslack can still be expected around the Sudbury headquarters of the company that he started more than 60 years ago.
"You have to enjoy your work because once you enjoy your work, everything sort of falls in place," said Maslack. "People want to work for you, customers want to buy from you because they see you're happy and you enjoy doing what you're doing. We weren't there just to make a dollar, we were there to give service."
It all started back in the 50s.
A young Maslack was feeling frustrated with his current employer and after an argument around the holidays, he decided to leave and forge his destiny.
"I went home and I had two little daughters at home and I said 'gee, what am I going to do? I don’t have a job now,'" Maslack said, reflecting on the beginning of his career.
With the help of some industry contacts and community support, an empire that he would prevail over for decades to come was born in 1959, with a 5,000 square foot facility on Barrydowne Road.
He would later expand to what is now a 70,000 square foot headquarters located a block away on Falconbridge Road, along with 12 additional locations throughout northeastern Ontario.
"I sort of lived from day to day," he said. "I didn't know what I was going to do tomorrow and if we grew, it wasn't because I was planning it. It just happened!"
By his side for nearly half the ride has been General Manager Pino Vocaturo, who has been with the company for 32 years. He said he learned the lesson of the importance of hard work from Maslack himself early on.
"I think Mr. Maslack has built a great culture, good values. His door is always open to his office so the employees feel that they can talk to the owner. We're not a corporate mind, we're a family-owned business, so people enjoy coming to work and they love what they do!"
Being family-owned and operated, it's no surprise that the offices have some very important faces to Maslack, including his grandson Curtis Roy, who said knowing his grandfather, it is no surprise that he still comes into work almost every day.
"He's always loved his business," said Roy, who started at the business working over his summer holidays from school in the early 1990s. "It's been his baby since the late 50s and under his leadership, it's grown into the company it is now, and taking time away from his baby is difficult for him and it's no surprise that he's still coming into work."
Roy, who now works as the purchasing manager for the entire chain, said that despite a passion for his business, which has never faded, his grandfather has always made his family his number one priority, rarely missing a momentous milestone.
Roy, the grandson of Maslack's youngest daughter, said that his grandfather now spends as much of his working days focusing on his employees as people.
"He's very much an owner of a business that wants to know his employees and know his employees' families and he truly does care for his employees," said Roy. "Especially now that he gets into his later ages, he spends more time talking with his employees about not necessarily full business all the time, there's a lot of interest in what our employees are doing."
That characterization is echoed by the man himself. Since the concept of a traditional retirement was never appealing to him, he says that he gets his motivation from those around him.
"I love coming to work every morning! I enjoy the people that work here and the customers," said Maslack. "I like to see the business still keep growing. I have two daughters and one of them is in business here with us, so I think she will continue to keep operating and keep growing."