At just 16, Charles-William Delisle became part owner of a cheap grocery store, the Econo Club of Thetford Mines. For many years he dreamed of running his own business, a passion passed from father to son.
In 2020, his father Jean-François Delisle decided to take an unpaid leave of absence from his teaching job to focus on the project.
“My son has told me since he was 13 that he wanted to have a grocery store one day, that he wanted to buy an IGA,” explains Mr. Delisle. “So I offered to leave our little grocery store, I said, ‘We’ll see if you’re able to if you like it.’
For him it was an opportunity to spend time with his son. The duo built their business from A to Z.
“We visited cheap grocery stores all over Quebec to see what was being made, then we came into this space all summer, we put up shelves, a cash register…” says the teenager.
For him a dream comes true.
“I am very lucky and very grateful to my father.”
It is a sense of pride that inhabits the young entrepreneur’s father.
“I’m proud of my son, of what we’ve achieved in a year, of starting from scratch. When we started, this was a gym.”
The company has two employees. For cashier Brigitte Hamel, having a boss who is still at school changes nothing.
“I have a lot of respect for Charles-William as well as his father, everyone is warm here,” she said.
The teenager thinks big. He would like to study administrative sciences at CEGEP to learn more about running a company. When he is ready, Mr. Delisle will withdraw from the project entirely, leaving the reins of the business to his son.
“After all, we want it to move forward, Charles-William has a lot of marketing and development ideas for the company.”
With inflation in Canada breaking records, this grocery store savings concept is timely.
“Because of inflation, other grocery stores are going up, so we have to go up too, but we’re trying less than the others,” says the teenager. “We want people to save.”
According to Delisles, it’s a model that deserves to be known.
“It’s becoming a trend, more and more people will turn to this alternative.”
In addition, their customer base has continued to grow over the past year.
There are several other inexpensive grocery stores throughout the province.