Tatamagouche & Area Notebook, By Ellen Millard
Popular Foodland manager to retire, return to hometown
© Ellen Millard photo
Mike Belliveau is shown at the courtesy desk at the Tatamagouche Foodland. After 24 years, Belliveau is getting set to retire.
Mike Belliveau came to our small village in March of 1989 and as we look back over the years since that cold day in March we realize all the good changes he has made in our way of life.
He came from Weymouth, N.S. — his hometown — and from the time he was 10 had worked after school for Desi, his older brother, in his grocery store there. And all the while he was getting a first hand view of how a grocery store had to be run. When he finished school, he decided running a grocery store was what he wanted to do with his life.
So in 1985 Desi and Mike together opened the first new Foodland store in Nova Scotia.
Meanwhile, Frankie and Howard Elliott opened a Foodland in Tatamagouche. A few years later, on March 20 in 1989, Mike moved from Weymouth to take over the management and it soon became known as “Mike’s Foodland.”
“After a short time here I began to realize I had moved to a village that had great community spirit,” Mike says. “I felt the village and North Shore area was one of the best kept secrets when it came to a great place to live and work.”
Mike says Tatamagouche has a great way of life and just about all the services and recreation a community needs. He notes our attractions, such as beaches, a marina, recreation center, Creamery Square, a hospital, schools, bowling alley, shops, Patterson‘s Wharf, Nelson’s Park, a picnic park and the list goes on and on, all set along the “meeting of two rivers,” the French and Waugh Rivers.
One of the additional assets of the area is the now hundreds of summer cottages, built starting in the mid 1960s. Many of the cottage neighbours have now also decided to retire in the area, so there are always new homes being built.
Mike has been very involved in just about every community happening and indeed has founded or helped set up many programs in the community. He has been a volunteer and on the board of the North Shore Recreation Center, Nelson’s Park, Creamery Square, the Chamber of Commerce and just about every community organization. He was instrumental in having the cell tower built, and founded the Student of the Month Program at North Colchester High 22 years ago. He plans to be there to present the Student of the Year Award at graduation again the coming June.
From the very beginning of his tenure at Foodland, local people have filled the staff positions in the store. Many students were given their first after-school jobs by Mike and some are still working in the store.
As a resident of the village, Mike says he has come to know just about every one here and has allowed every organization who needed to fund raise the opportunity to sell tickets at Foodland. His store has supported church youth groups, hockey, skating, the local food bank, the Children’s Wish Foundation and many others.
Under Mike’s leadership, the store has always helped those in the community who lost their homes to fire and anyone who experienced a health problem or accident. Since there are many seniors in the community, Foodland began a shopping and delivery service for those who were unable to shop for themselves, with a staff member taking groceries right to their kitchens and, on occasion, even helping to put them away.
I’m sure there are many ways Mike and his staff has made our area a better place to live — the list could go on and on! Mike, we’re sorry you’re leaving and you will be missed. We wish you all the best in your retirement, as well as more time to spend with your children, grandchildren and your mother in Weymouth, who by the way is enjoying life at the age of 101! Plus, there’ll be lots of time to golf and travel.
We hope the roads will lead you back to visit often. Thanks for all you’ve done in the community.
Ellen Millard is a historian, author and longtime resident of Sand Point, near Tatamagouche. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.