A Sault Ste. Marie native helms the Tim Hortons that’s sold the most Smile Cookies in Canada for three consecutive years.
Ryan DiTommaso has owned the Broad Street East location in Dunnville, about 60 kilometres southeast of Hamilton, since late 2017. The White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School graduate has worked at Tim Hortons for more than a decade, starting his career with the company in the Sault.
His location sold a whopping 62,889 Smile Cookies during the annual national fundraising campaign for charities that ran Sept. 14-20. That’s nearly 50 per cent more cookies than the 42,879 sold in 2019 and not too far away from triple the sales of 22,748 in 2018. All proceeds go to charity.
“The whole community rallies behind the cause,” DiTommaso told The Sault Star.
Customers buying cookies for their families and friends, businesses picking up “hundreds” of treats for their employees or the community’s long-term care home, former Dunnville residents calling up contacts asking for cookies to be bought for them all helped drive sales, said DiTommaso. Even neighbouring eateries were encouraging the community’s residents to buy cookies at Tim Hortons.
“That’s how serious people are about buying cookies and defending that title,” said DiTommaso.
Dunnville has a population of about 5,800. DiTommaso’s goal this year was sales of 50,000.
“Many of the great ideas and processes that we used in Sault Ste. Marie during Smile Cookie in past years were brought to our stores in the south where they were tuned and adjusted by my hardworking team of manager and staff members,” said DiTommaso in an email to The Sault Star. “The outcome of this hard work resulted in the unbelievable numbers we were able to sell.”
A challenge from neighbouring Binbrook, Ont., for the title of top cookie seller also helped spur sales.
“It really peeved people off,” said DiTommaso. “Dunnville just wanted it bad. They weren’t going to let Binbrook take it from us.”
Tim Hortons in Binbrook still earned plaudits for its efforts selling more than 35,000 cookies for Employment Squared.
Smart Cookie proceeds from the Dunnville location have supported Dunnville Hospital and Healthcare Foundation “for many years,” said DiTommaso.
“I know my entire team, as well as the many volunteers and members of the foundation, worked hard and the entire community rallied and went the extra mile when they heard we could be No. 1,” he said. “It is all in good fun and in the end for a great cause.”
DiTommaso is also “very proud” his fellow Tim Hortons owners in the Sault raised more than $50,000 in Smile Cookie sales to help Algoma Residential Community Hospice and Twinkie Foundation.
“The Dunnville Hospital Foundation, similar to ARCH and Twinkie Foundation, are organizations that the community values and wants to support,” said DiTommaso. “Buying Smile Cookies really helps these great community organizations continue to do the great work they do which is a reason why I believe both communities are so successful with the program.”
He managed Tim Hortons on Second Line West at Farwell Terrace then became general manager at that site and Great Northern Road at Second Line East. DiTommaso then became a franchisee with his sister, Ashleigh MacLeod, of Tim Hortons on Great Northern Road near Third Line East. The siblings also own a Tim Hortons in Smithville, about 30 kilometres north of Dunnville.
Nationally, Smile Cookie sales set a new record with $10.6 million raised this year for charities compared to $9.8 million in 2019.
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