Thim Choy: A Boyle Street Senior
I was walking up 95 Street the other day, and as I came up to Edmonton Cash Register, the owner/president said to me: “I am a senior now.” Thus began this conversation with Thim Choy, who turns 65 in May.
He wasn’t very forthcoming about what it is like to be a senior but did say that his priorities have shifted from having money to having good health. When asked what good health meant to him, he said he had bought a treadmill and used it three times, but when he ran into a shoeless man outside his store, he gave away his size 8 runners and hasn’t been on the treadmill since.
Thim came to Edmonton in 1970 as the result of a connection between a mentor in Malaysia and the owner of a company in Edmonton. He came to work here selling restaurant equipment and when that business closed three years later he started his own – Edmonton Cash Register. Since that time his business has been in the Boyle Street area and he has mostly lived in the neighbourhood as well.
Thim has some wonderful qualities. He is truly a salesman with that wonderful, open friendliness salesmen need to engage whomever they meet. He also can rattle off numbers – addresses where he lived, former business addresses, the purchase and sale price of various products in his store, or the year in which various events occurred. Numbers are clearly his forte and I would say that being a senior only means his skills in this regard are honed to perfection.
I first came to know Thim when he was part of the Boyle McCauley Area Redevelopment Plan in the early 1990s. By that time, he was no longer on the Boyle McCauley Health Centre Board (where I worked). These two were not the only boards or community groups Thim participated in over the years. He also has been very active, often taking leadership roles, in the Chinese Benevolent Association, the Boyle Street Community League, the Lions Club, the Business Area Redevelopment Zone, Alex Taylor Breakfast Program and more.
Thim has been married, for the second time, for six years and now lives in another part of the city. He has three children from his first marriage, living in Vancouver. He acknowledged that Boyle Street and his business have often been his priority to the detriment of his family life and that as a senior he is trying to achieve a better balance. However, he definitely plans to continue with his business as long as he is able. Judging by his energy and capacity, I expect we will continue to see Thim Choy as an active part of our community for a very long time yet.