Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nilgiris' Tenth Anniversary Week: "Banking Can Be This Comfortable"

The Green Chair is in town!

I'll admit to falling for the grumpy old men each time I see the TD Canada Trust TV commercials; but what I admire even more is how my branch in Three Hills cares for me.

This week marks ten years since Nilgiris Tea House opened its doors. 

It was absolutely awful.

We were swarmed that first day; and - woefully unprepared - we served chicken pot pies, too many different types of labour-intensive sandwiches, a couple of pots of soup, orange muffins, and coconut cream pie.

ONE coconut cream pie ...

At the end of that nightmarish 13 hours, we wanted to shut the doors for good.

We did indeed close the TH at the end of June 2006: we needed to regroup, to adjust to new normals, to evaluate where all of this was going. We tried to sell the place, but nothing worked out. I felt stranded, immobilized.

Then the bank who had financed our mortgage in the beginning bailed on us; even though I had not missed a single mortgage payment, I was now deemed too great of a risk for the bank named after our province.

In despair I talked to the manager of the Three Hills TD Canada Trust branch, where I did my personal banking.

Shane looked at the numbers, calculated various scenarios, and came up with a mortgage that would be manageable if I lived upstairs, kept my job at Carswell and opened the TH on weekends - exactly what Mum and I had been talking about together for a little while as we pondered why God had not allowed this sweet place to find a new person to love it and take it over.

This was August 2007. We planned to open on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, which falls in October.

But in the beginning of September, my family's entire universe changed as my Mum was hospitalized for the last time. She exchanged this world for her heavenly home on the 18th.

One of the first people I called was Shane. "Focus on your Mum; focus on your family right now," he urged. "Don't worry about anything else. It'll all work out."

I reopened at the end of November. Shane and the TD staff were some of my first guests.

When Shane moved on to another branch, Russ became the new branch manager, and he continued to support the TH in whatever way he could - including eating as much carrot cake as I would allow him to purchase ...

Russ eventually found a new branch home, and Diana recently took his place as Branch Manager. She too has shown us nothing but enthusiasm and encouragement.
I had an appointment with Mary Lynne on
my birthday - and she decorated her
office for our meeting!

And through it all - through all the branch managers and the changes that perforce come to all major institutions these days - has been the corps of loyal, devoted, dedicated employees at the Branch. In alphabetical order they are BethAnne, Cammy, Denise, Emmy, Mary Lynne. Each of them has helped me over the last eight years, and each of them has exemplified consistently outstanding customer service.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these women, and now Diana too, have my back. They appreciate my strengths and assist me with my weaknesses. They are interested in me as a person and in the goings-on of the TH. 

And I'm not an exception - when the conversation in the dining room turns to banks, TD Canada Trust Three Hills branch customers invariably tell me of the high level of customer service they receive and how the staff at our little branch truly cares for them and endeavours to find the best solutions for their needs.

So it came as no surprise to me that The Green Chair landed in the Three Hills branch, a reward for being the best customer-focused team in their division. Of course, the team in the branch are well aware that I am enthralled with The Chair, so they let me know I was welcome to get my picture taken with it.

Recognizing an Occasion, I rose to it, and so did they, of course ...

Branch Manager Diane Sheeler, Financial Advisor Mary Lynne Penner, Financial Services
Representative BethAnne Ironside, Manager of Customer Service Emmy McDonald -
my own tea party in the comfy Green Chair!

To all of you I want to take this occasion to say a heartfelt thank you. You always go above and beyond the call of duty. I am grateful and proud to be a member of the TD Canada Trust family. I literally could not do it without you.

Banking is this comfortable!


  1. Looking good, K, on that green chair. I'll just have to wait for my "freedom 85" to sit on one of those! LOL
    Happy Tenth NTH.

  2. Congratulations Karyn on the 10th anniversary of the Nilgiris Tea House!!! Your dream, your hard work, your dedication, your tenacity. What a touching narrative of the support you have received from the Three Hills branch of the TD Canada Trust. It is nice to see you sitting down ;)


  3. congratulations on 10 years. I can remember when that was being built and how excited everyone was to have such a unique place to take our friends for something "great" and of course healthy!! Looking forward to a visit on of these weekends - soon
    Welcome Home!!

  4. Wonderful achievement Karyn! ..................talk about perseverence, grit and innovation!! You have it all.
    Truly, the Lord our God is an amazing faithful friend and provider -............. another ten coming up??

  5. Hi Karyn, i just read your story on the TD Intrant! Your story is making headlines all around the bank.

    Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary and here's to many more.


    1. Thank you, Slainte! Congratulations on being a part of such an exceptional corporation! (Can you call a bank a corporation?!)

  6. I would love to opena tea house in my city! congrats!!!

  7. Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary Karyn! I also saw this story through our TD Intranet and I just wanted to send you a note to congratulate you on this big accomplishment! Next time I pass through Three Hills I will be sure to come in for a snack :)

  8. From all the way in Waterloo, Ontario I too saw the article on the TD Intranet and wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!!! What an incredible accomplishment! Here's to the next 10 years!


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