IGA Poirier celebrates 65 years of commitment to the community that is Hudson
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
Michel Poirier at work in his office at IGA Poirier in Hudson thanks all his customers, present staff and previous ones - from former students to managers – as well as his family for their help and support on the occasion of the store’s 65th anniversary this week.
Perhaps it’s hard to believe today, but there was a time when Hudsonites didn’t have to leave town to do virtually all their regular shopping. For there was a butcher, a baker and, if not exactly a candlestick maker, a general store that sold them. And in addition to the Eaton catalogue through the Post Office, there was also a clothing store, shoe shop, several hardware stores, a sports outlet, and even six gas stations, three car dealerships, and a movie theatre. All, of course, are long gone. Save one.
The former little market founded by that very same butcher, Raymond Poirier, and now known as IGA Poirier which is celebrating its 65th anniversary in the community this very week.
Says his son and owner, Michel, who literally grew up in the market that was located on the store’s current site on Main Road and who joined the company full time in 1972 prior to acquiring it completely a few years later, ‘’Back in the 50s when my father started out in the business, it was a completely different way of life. There were lots of little full-service shops here in Hudson. Even if they did close on Wednesday afternoons and all day Sunday. ‘’It was a time of one-car families and, for the most part, the men would take the train into Montreal to work – we had eight then every day – and the ladies would stay at home to take care of the children and do all their shopping during the day.’’
Over the years, of course, that would change as Hudson’s small shops began to face fierce competition from the advent of bigger outlets – the precursor of today’s giant supermarkets and box stores – close by. Hudson born, Raymond Poirier, however, was determined that his store would not only survive but grow in the town that he loved. And so his little market on Main was demolished in 1964 to make way for his own mini supermarket that just kept gradually growing with the town to its current 18,000 sq. ft. store that for over 50 years has been Hudson’s biggest employer by far. After almost 25 years under the Provigo banner – but always independently owned – the store became affiliated with IGA in 1993 as free agents. An association, says Poirier, that has served his company and Hudsonites well.
‘’The retail food business is tough and fiercely competitive and, as an independent, one has to have a personal commitment and something very special in order to survive,’’ says Poirier. ‘’I would like to think that we have that. Not only in terms of our staff , who are all local people, and the students we employ every year for what is possibly their first job in the marketplace, but also our managers and department heads who take pride in their work and the fact that they are, in effect, our front-line ambassadors with our customers.’’
Customers, who include so many who will never forget Michel Poirier’s understanding and generosity during the infamous ice storm of 1998. For when power was cut off crippling the cash registers, Poirier told them to just take what they wanted, keep a record, and pay him when things got back to normal. They did. And when the inventory was finally taken, and the balance sheet completed, they matched almost perfectly.
Such is the commitment of Poirier and his family to the community and the town of Hudson. Where he was born and grew up. Learned the business and the important things in life from his father, Raymond Poirier. And is looking forward to the future of IGA Poirier, the store that for 65 years has carried his family’s name.
Says Poirier, ‘’I would really like to thank all our customers, present staff and previous ones from former students to managers and my family for their help and support.’’