As a young entrepreneur, Bernard Imbeault and his friends bought a small pizza take-out in Shediac in 1969.
With Imbeault’s guidance, it would grow into the Pizza Delight chain.
Imbeault became the co-founder of Imvescor, which at its peak owned and operated hundreds of restaurants across Canada, which included Scores, Mikes and Bâton Rouge.
Bernard Imbeault died in palliative care Tuesday night, according to his family.
Imbeault, 75, had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for the past 13 years.
Roger Fournier, the CEO of Triangle Kitchen in Dieppe, met Imbeault in the 60s.
Fournier says Imbeault was generous, energetic, and a hard worker.
“He didn’t really love money, but he loved success,” Fournier said. “He loved to have new enterprises.”
Fournier says he travelled extensively with Imbeault, who would often visit other businesses.
“He was always seeing a business as something that he had to go inside and see what was making them tick and what was making them successful,” Fournier said. “And this was a way he’d always been.”
But Imbeault never forgot his roots.
“His trademark was generosity, he was very helpful with different causes in the city and elsewhere in Canada. He helped a lot of universities like Moncton, Mount Allison and different hospitals and sports and everything,” he said.
Fournier says he spoke to Imbeault on the phone last week, and he was in good humour.
He says he’ll miss his friend, but was lucky to have had Imbeault in his life.
The Université de Moncton issued a statement about the loss of Imbeault, a “proud alumnus, donor and honorary PH. D. recipient.”
“We have lost a giant in the business world and a great friend of the Université de Moncton .” said interim president and vice-chancellor Jacques Paul Couturier.
Imbeault was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick in 2012.
Marie Chamberland, president of the CENB said in a written statement that francohpone entrepreneurs in New Brunswick have just lost one of their giants.
“This visionary businessman was recognized as a model to follow, as much for experienced entrepreneurs as for young entrepreneurs, and he did not hesitate to share his expertise with the next generation.” Chamberland wrote.
“Bernard Imbeault was known as a person who dreamed big, who dared and who innovated in his field.”