Louis Thifault retires from Hudson's IGA store after four decades in food retailing
PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY
All sporting different Olympic Games sweaters from over the years, recently-retired Louis Thifault takes time out from watching the events on TV together with his family (from left to right) Chloe, Cindy, Ariane, and pet pooch Calie.
After 40 years in the food retailing business, all of them at the IGA in Hudson, former store manager Louis Thifault has taken an early retirement at the age of 63, to spend more time with his family, pursue other interests and - although the exact timing was not planned - to indulge in one of his passions, watching the Olympic Games on TV.
“Yes, you might say that I am an Olympic fanatic or nut, summer or winter,” laughed Thifault in an exclusive interview with The Journal earlier this week while sporting an Olympic Games sweater number 18.
What does he watch?
“Absolutely everything,” he replied. “You name it, I watch it. From luge to curling to figure skating, I love it all.”
It’s a passion dating back to the year 2000 when Michel Poirier, former owner of IGA in both Hudson and St. Lazare and a fellow hockey player albeit on a much different level, treated Thifault to a week in Sydney, Australia, for the Summer Games there.
“It was a dream come true although I really started loving the Olympics when they came to Montreal in 1976 and the passion just grew from there and has never stopped growing,” said Thifault, who has since built up an impressive collection of Olympic memorabilia and who, up until this year, has been a stalwart defense player on the Hudson Old Timers hockey team. “One of the reasons being that it represents Canada on the world stage and, even though I am a proud French Canadian by birth, in my heart I am always a Canadian first,” he explained.
Added Thifault, an unabashed Bobby Orr and Boston Bruins fan for the past 50 years and who has been on leave of absence from IGA for the past few months after breaking his collar bone while playing hockey at MacDonald College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue last October, “Michel, who played for Team Canada back in the 60s, was a terrific guy to work for at IGA, as was his father Raymond who first hired me full time as a packer and stacker when I was 23. In fact, Michel coached me when I was studying at Collège Bourget and playing in the Bantam league. And he has been my inspiration in both hockey and the food retailing business ever since.”
It is a business that he will really miss he says, adding, “After almost 40 years of serving the local community on behalf of IGA Poirier, it is with mixed feelings that I announce my retirement. My longevity in the food industry was made possible by Michel Poirier, my mentor and the amazing and generous owner of IGA Poirier and I offer him and his family my utmost gratitude. I would also like to thank the managers and staff for their loyalty and devotion, and a very special thank you to all the customers for their support through those wonderful years.”
Thifault and his family – wife Cindy and their daughters Chloe and Ariane who lost their son and brother, Evan, in 2014 - have no plans to leave Hudson now that he is officially retired. “This little town has been so kind and good to us and we are proud to call it home,” he said just before heading off to watch downhill skiing in Pyeonchang in South Korea on TV.