The beauty of connection

January 18, 2024

Sofia stands with her arms crossed inside her Shoppers Drug Mart location

Like many of us, I am in a personal season of transition that is sometimes really difficult to navigate. But despite what I’m going through, I show up to work every day and act like nothing’s wrong. The truth is, we ALL have our good and bad days. My relationships with my work family often provide me with comfort, support, and a distraction from my reality. I believe that many of my customers visit me for the same reasons. 

Just a few years ago, the pandemic taught us a lot about human behaviour – and what was made blatantly clear was that humans need face-to-face contact and a sense of connection to survive and thrive. As a veteran Beauty Manager, I’ve learned that customers come to our stores because they have a NEED - products to boost their self-confidence, food to feed their families, medicine to ease sickness. Or sometimes, what they seek isn’t found on our shelves. It can be something as simple as a genuine greeting that makes them feel seen and their presence acknowledged.   

I’ve come to appreciate that my thinking drives my behaviours and so if I make a conscious choice to think positively, then every shift I work is a chance to affect someone else’s life in a positive way. The beautiful thing is that it can happen in the most unexpected places – down an aisle, at the cash register, or in the parking lot while grabbing buggies. Our stores provide an intersection between people’s problems and their solutions; we play a pivotal role in what that looks and feels like for our customers. Online shopping provides our customers with options to expand our retail reach, but our brick-and-mortar stores provide something that devices cannot – humanity. A sincere smile. A warm embrace. A strong shoulder. A compassionate ear. A tissue. For many, these interactions signify real human connection and are impactful and meaningful.  

I know that many of the products we sell can be found in other stores, but rare commodities like compassion and kindness are readily available at my location. When I finally realized that these powerful tools could be used to help people and organically grow our business, my perspective towards my job changed and made me love it even more. Shared experiences through fellowship have helped me connect on a deeper level and forge strong bonds with individuals in the community that I serve. Now, I no longer work to sell cosmetics. Instead, like my pharmacy colleagues, I work to make people feel better. By employing a bit of empathy and understanding, I’m able to foster connections and build relationships that I hope, in some small way, will help my fellow Canadians Live Life Well.  

- Sofia Fortune, Beauty Manager, SDM Springdale Square, Brampton