In the Cousineau family, the passion for food started back with Mr. Alcide Cousineau, father of Jean Cousineau, who started in a grocery store at the age of 11. He worked for the grocery chain A&P for several years, later acquiring a grocery store of his own in 1963 and then a second in 1976. Jean Cousineau became a share holder in 1986, when his father decided to retire and sell his stores to him and his two brothers. Jean Cousineau continued to be co-owner until 2006. In august of the same year, he decided to start on a great adventure and open an IGA Extra in Varennes, by the highway 132.
The opening of this new store was well awaited by the varennoise community. That night, an unexpected number of people attended the event. The launch went so well that it grabbed the attention of the head office of Sobey’s Quebec. For the next several days, it seemed to be the topic conversation at the offices in Montreal North. The inauguration in Varennes was on everybody’s mind. The success of the store was a definite reflection of the opening. For the next several years, the sales of the store were on continuous rise even with the arrival of a well known competitor just a few streets away.
In June of 2009, the business is on a steady pace and Jean Cousineau buys back the store he once ran with his brother Daniel. This IGA has fifteen thousand square feet. Situated in the sector of Fatima in Longueuil, he moves the store to a new location, a short distance away on boulevard Jean-Paul Vincent, in a much larger new building (thirty six thousand square feet) with brand new equipment and a fresh décor. Just like in Varennes, the opening is a great success. The variety and freshness of the products as well as the quality of the service draws customers from all over.
Jean Cousineau says that the success of his business does not solely fall on his shoulders. He’s continuously praising his team, knowing that without them, he wouldn’t have an IGA. Within his team, it is very important to mention Martine René de Cotret, his wife and loyal acolyte for over thirty years and who has been working with him in the administration of his stores since 1996. His two dependable friends of many years also hold key positions: Yves Lalonde, director in Varennes and Mario Blanchet, director in Longueuil, put their hearts into their work week after week, to ensure the success of each IGA. Jean Cousineau, with all his experience and his 250 employees, is never forgetting his managers’ help to create a work place that is pleasant and has a family atmosphere.
Weather for the shopping experience or for the work environment, we have to remember the name of Jean Cousineau because his story has just begun!