Who says you can’t go home again?
Kevin MacCarthy has done just that this past week after a hectic Canada Day weekend where the new general manager at MacCarthy Motors Prince Rupert and his wife, Sarah, and two kids Jack, 5, and Finley, 3, packed their lives into a couple dozen boxes and motored west down Highway 16.
He’s made the trek countless times but this time there would be no immediate return trip to Terrace, Kevin’s home for the past number of years.
It’s a bit of a homecoming for the Rupert boy, who grew up on the North Coast right up until high school graduation. Even in elementary school, Kevin’s path to the managing office had already started.
“My dad (Gary) is a car dealer, so I had worked at Kaien Ford here when he owned part of it and my first job was cleaning floors,” Kevin explained in his new office last week.
“I wanted a pair of rollerblades in Grade 6, and he said ‘Yeah, you want something expensive and brand new like that? You’ve got to come and work. Come clean the floors’.”
So that’s just what he did.
Up until Grade 8, Kevin was a fixture at the dealership mopping the floors and weed-whacking and generally keeping the place looking as polished as its cars.
From there, the Rupertite never looked back.
Kevin moved from cleaning the floors to cleaning cars in the detail bay in the summer of Grade 8.
All through high school, the teen worked weekends, and worked enough to afford a brand new mountain bike, which he broke in at one of the best regions in Canada to explore, the North Coast.
“I remember in school, kids were always like ‘Yeah, Friday night!’ and for me, it was ‘I’ve got to work Saturday’ and I never missed work. I considered that a school night. Even in the summers, I worked full-time every summer,” the manager said.
“It was nice. I was big into mountain biking at that time so that afforded me to be able to buy a nice mountain bike and do some upgrades to it and have some fun there.”
The son’s unflinching work ethic comes directly from dad.
“My dad has worked six days a week as long as I know he’s been working,” Kevin said.
“[The work ethic] has stayed with me because it hasn’t been an option. It has to be there.”
That’s no more evident than by the three or four stacks of paper sitting on the new GM’s desk at the brand new MacCarthy Motors building, opened just this past year.
Right now it’s month-end time and much has to be done after a busy June at the dealership. Kevin will be taking over duties and roles that haven’t been handled by a full time manager at the Prince Rupert location for months.
“It’s unfortunate we’ve left this dealership without a full-time manager for a long time, which has been tough on them, but at the same time, they’ve really come together as a team. There’s a real family atmosphere throughout the building,” he said.
A lot has changed in the time the younger MacCarthy has spent away from his birthplace living in Terrace and working at the company’s location east of here.
The community is wrestling with important projects and questions have been up in the air for some time now, but Kevin’s noticed a change in attitude that has driven the economy in a positive direction over the past little while.
“There’s obviously a lot of buzz in town and you can see it in the price of houses. There’s a lot of proposed projects and even if a couple of them hit, it’s going to be huge. It’s going to bring lots of people to the area … I’m all about local. You’ve got to keep [the money] in the community. There is enough business for everybody and everybody can do well if everybody helps everybody out.”
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Kevin would blaze down trails, biking on a path between 11th Avenue and Prince Rupert Boulevard. Now, the area has a whole new subdivision.
“When I lived here that was just a big rock pile,” he said.
“I spent a lot of time playing in and around that area and for there to be a whole subdivision and these nice houses there, it’s different.
“It’s nice to be home. I still have family here, my family has a deep, deep history here. My mom was born and raised here and her parents were here for a very long time. Actually, my grandpa’s dad built the first Catholic church in town,” Kevin explained.
“I’m looking forward to raising my kids in the place I was raised in and I’m just looking forward to helping out with the community.”