Owner of a budget grocery store at age 16

At just 16 years old, Charles-William Delisle became the owner of an economical grocery store, the Econo Club of Thetford Mines. He had dreamed of having his own business for many years, a passion passed down from father to son.

It was in 2020 that his father Jean-François Delisle decided to take unpaid leave from his teaching job in order to focus on the project.

“My son since the age of 13 told me 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 capable, 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 economic grocery stores throughout Quebec to see what was being done, then throughout the summer, we came to this room, we put shelves, a cash register …”, says the teenager.

For him, it’s a dream come true.

“I am very lucky and I am very grateful to my father.”

It is a feeling of pride that inhabits the father of the young entrepreneur.

“I’m proud of my son, of what we’ve done in a year, of starting from scratch. When we started, it was a gym here.”

The business has two employees. For cashier Brigitte Hamel, having a boss still in high school doesn’t change anything.

“I have great respect for Charles-William as much as for his dad, everyone is warm here,” she said.

The teenager thinks big. He wants to study administration at CEGEP to learn more about running a business. When he is ready, Mr. Delisle will withdraw completely from the project to leave the reins of the business to his son.

“Eventually, we want it to progress, Charles-William has a lot of marketing and development ideas for the company.”

With inflation breaking records in Canada, this economy grocery store concept is timely.

“Because of inflation, the prices of other grocery stores are going up, so we too have to go up, but we try to do it less than the others,” says the teenager. “We want people to save.”

According to the Delisles, it is a model that deserves to be known.

“It will become a trend, more and more people will turn to this alternative.”

Moreover, their clientele has continued to grow over the past year.

Several other economical grocery stores exist throughout the province.

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