TATAMAGOUCHE – The well-known owner of Foodland in Tatamagouche is calling it a career.
Mike Belliveau, 61, will retire on March 29, ending 51 years in the grocery business and 25 years at Foodland in Tatamagouche.
Looking back, it’s no surprise Belliveau had a long career in the business.
“I started when I was 10 years old and working with my brother … I was sweeping floors and stocking shelves” at a Riteway in Weymouth, said Belliveau of his introduction to employment in a grocery store. “I enjoyed it and I was good at it and I’m still here.”
March 20 will mark the 25th year Belliveau has been at the local grocery store. He will take away many special memories.
“I’ve loved every minute of it. People have been good to me … and the staff have become my family,” he said.
He also will miss the years of raising and donating “hundreds of thousands” of dollars back into the community through countless fundraisers.
Winning national awards for the business and travelling to conventions all over the world are also highlights of Belliveau’s career.
The longevity also taught him a few lessons.
“Everything has gotten faster and the competition is very tight now. Customers are more and more demanding now because they are more knowledgeable and they know what they want.”
And, of course, technology has played a big role during his tenure.
“There’s less actual papers pushed now and when I started it was (basic) computer programs and the fax machine. Things have improved.”
As far as what is next for Belliveau, he intends to do some things he hasn’t enjoyed in a long time.
“I haven’t had a vacation in 25 years,” he said, adding he hopes to take a family trip to Alberta in the spring and spend more time golfing.
“I’m going to miss the people (at work) but I decided about three years ago it was time to retire. It’s time.”
An announcement has not yet been made regarding who will replace Belliveau. He will confirm that it will be a Colchester County resident.
Belliveau has very simple advice for those who come after him.
“Be yourself and work hard,” he said.