It never ceases to amaze me how many exceptional people live in our area. Many of them keep a very low profile, but contribute a great deal to the communities in which they live. David Malcolm is a true example of such a person.

One of the few locals who can boast, he still lives on the property where he was born; David grew up on the family farm in Nestleton. “I was one of seven kids, and it was a simple expectation that you worked on the farm.”

David explained how difficult farming was, ‘back in the day’. “We had only horses, until one day one of our horses took off, and my dad bought a tractor.” He smiled as he relayed his experiences.

The kids split the farm up into smaller parcels, and David ended up with 60 acres, most of which he now rents out. He attended Blackstock Elementary school and went on to Port Perry High. “School wasn’t for me,” David explained, and the self-made individual went on to gain life experiences.

He worked at Johnson Controls in Port Perry and McDonalds in Oshawa, and finally landed a secure position at General Motors. In 1977 David married his sweetheart, Joanna Wolters, a nurse also from Port Perry. In 1989 he made a major career altering decision.

David had been selling fireplaces for Napoleon in his spare time, and after nearly thirteen years at General Motors, left to pursue his sales passion full time. “We had the market garden at the farm, which was doing well,” he explained. “If I was ever going to make it on my own, this was it.”

He took his fireplace business out of the house, and opened a small location on Reach Street. Six years later he moved the operation to Casimir Street, where he bought the building. “I always believed in owning the buildings that I worked in,” David said. It was a great philosophy, as it proved to be very successful in future ventures.

Overridge Fireplace, Furnace & BBQ , as the business was known, was readily accepted by the community, and David worked very hard to make it successful. Meantime, back at the farm, Joanna, was tasked with the pleasure of raising their six children.

David worked endlessly for the next fifteen years, and he opened 17 stores, in places like Whitby, Bobcaygeon, Coburg, Scarborough, Uxbridge, and a dozen more, keeping his flagship location in Port Perry as the company’s hub.

David explained how extremely fortunate and delighted he was, when one of his five sons said he wanted to work for him. “You can work with me,“ David replied, to his son’s request. “But not for me.” Perhaps only a choice of words, but certainly an indicator of the moral stature of this local businessman.

Over the next few years, all of David and Joanna’s children became involved in the operation, and David slowly transferred ownership of the business into their names. “Now they run it and they do it well.” He paused, “It says a lot, when all your kids want to be in the same business that you started.” I could see pride beam across his face.