His beginnings

ALAIN BOUCHARD

Born : February 18, 1949

City : Chicoutimi

Family : The second child in a family of six children

One of the Perrette stores, where it all began for Alain Bouchard (1970)

Photo credit : Couche-Tard archives

An entrepreneurial spirit

Alain Bouchard was a born entrepreneur. From an early age, he was inspired by his father, Jean-Paul Bouchard, a successful business owner in Chicoutimi.

Alain’s father made a handsome living with many contracts over a number of years. The entrepreneurial spirit was firmly anchored in family values and inspired young Alain to want his own company someday. Then, a pivotal event would fuel his interest in business even more : his father completed a project for which he was never paid, forcing him into bankruptcy. Alain was nine years old when his family lost everything.

With this setback, his father had no choice but to become an employee in order to meet his family’s needs. But this did not dull his entrepreneurial spirit. Alain remembers driving miles and miles with his dad every weekend, searching for companies that were for sale. His father had always wanted a new company. He even hoped his son would become an engineer, so that the two of them could start a construction company together. His desire to pursue his dreams and ambitions was an inspiration to Alain.

The budding entrepreneur learned from his father’s bad experience. Already, he knew he would have to surround himself with the right people and establish a solid foundation to avoid repeating his father’s mistake.

Alain Bouchard - 1950

Alain Bouchard in the 1950s

Photo credit : Bouchard family archives

Jean-Paul Bouchard

Jean-Paul Bouchard, Alain’s father

Photo credit : Bouchard family archives

Rachel et Jean-Paul Bouchard

25th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY of RACHEL and JEAN-PAUL BOUCHARD

Photo credit : Bouchard family archives

A passion is born for convenience stores

Alain attended high school in Rivière-du-Loup and spent several summers working on the same construction site as his father. In 1969, in Bois-des-Filion, this self-learner began a new job in the Perrette store franchised by his brother Gilles.

Clip from Alain Bouchard’s interview, Cercle des Grands entrepreneurs du Québec — only available in French
Dépanneur Perrette

Newspaper advertisement for Perrette convenience store

Photo credit : Couche-Tard archives

Dépanneur Perrette

Acquisition of 86 Perrette stores across Québec (1994)

Photo credit : Couche-Tard archives

It would be his brother’s turn to influence Alain in his early career. Soon, Gilles would task Alain with handling the opening of new stores throughout Québec.

Over the course of a few months, Alain prepared each convenience store to be sold to a franchisee. And it was during this time that he discovered his penchant for convenience stores. He observed customers’ comings and goings and tried to understand their behavior. Instinctively, Alain developed an ability to perfectly pinpoint consumer needs.

Un des premiers couche-tard

One of the first Couche-Tard storefronts located in the Québec City area (1985)

Photo credit : Couche-Tard archives

In 1980, he opened his first convenience store in Laval. Just five years later, he bought 11 stores bearing the Couche-Tard banner in the Québec City area.

I wanted to make it big —really big— and fast.

ALAIN BOUCHARD

Clip from Alain Bouchard’s interview, Cerce des grands entrepreneurs du Québec—only available in French

The local acquisitions didn’t stop there. In fact, he would buy the entire network of Perrette stores, where it had all begun for him. This transaction officially marked the beginning of the company’s explosive growth.