In the Spotlight: Kevin Mateff

Kevin and Adrian - CLH Employment Services

Dealer-Owner and Store Manager | Midland Home Hardware Building Centre 
Employer in the CLH Supported Employment Program

First established in 1945, since 2007 this thriving business on Fourth Street has been known as Midland Home Hardware Building Centre.

The store now has 40 employees, carries a large inventory of more than 17,000 products. It’s a very busy operation, which is just how Kevin and his team like to keep it.

As a young man Kevin helped out at CNIB in Toronto, where the organization had a packaging business – his four years there (he meant to stay for six months!) provided insight into the strong points and  advantages of working with employees who might not be considered as quickly for hiring as more ‘mainstream’ workers are. Kevin’s approach to working with and hiring people is like that of a good hockey manager – he is always trying to build a good team.

Kevin’s respect for people is primary. He values and respects his customers, and wants to provide a positive, supportive, family-like atmosphere for his employees; he has a great deal of respect for them, as well, and for their skills, experiences and talents; for example, his “special ops” team – a group of part-time “specialists” who have skills from their previous careers and put them to good use solving the inevitable challenges that come up in a multi-faceted business. Kevin notes that his part-timers come to work focused, ready to work, and bring a fresh energy to the store.

Adrian Price completed the CLH Supported Employment training program in 2016 and has been working for Kevin for almost three years. Kevin appreciates Adrian’s work ethic and his attention to detail:  “Adrian has been willing to work at things to get good results.  When he first started working here, he had plenty of energy but not as much experience – since then he has gained confidence about what he needs to do and how to do it. He has a good attitude, and wants to do well. He fits in well and is just like one of the family.” The first year that Adrian worked at the store, he didn’t attend the staff Christmas Party because he didn’t feel comfortable, or think that he should be included. But by the second year, Wendy Mateff, Kevin’s wife, picked Adrian up so that he could attend the party and he was happy to be part of the celebrations.

For his part, Adrian enjoys the work and he says he is “proud to have these responsibilities. I like working here and I know I do really good work.”

Kevin’s advice for business owners or managers who have never considered hiring staff with developmental support needs: “If you’ve never had a CLH-supported employee, once you get through any short term hurdles, you get a long-term benefit.” Kevin is quick to point out the advantages of having the additional support provided by CLH Development Support Services Employment Specialists, who work alongside the new employee to teach them all aspects of the position.   For Kevin, “it took away some of the sense of pressure to have someone there to do the training to ensure that Adrian was well prepared and set up to do his role, and fulfill expectations.” The ongoing commitment that CLH provides with training and transition to ensure success for those involved, Kevin says, “It’s a win for everyone, me included.”