Behind every St-Hubert franchise lies a typical family with a history all their own. In Val-d’Or, that family is Annie Gauthier and Marco Corriveau. As a couple in life and at work, the two franchisees make up a family that celebrates differences.
“My girlfriend thinks everyone is good and great,” that’s what Marco will tell you if you ask him to describe the woman with whom he shares his life and career. It’s no coincidence that her nickname is “Ms. HR” within the St-Hubert network. Her secret? Taking the time to learn about others, regardless of their social class, culture, or education.
Annie and Marco met in 1994 when they were both working as waiters at the Val-d'Or rotisserie. Far from thinking that they would one day own the place, it only took them a few months to take up management positions. Over time, the two franchisees have created a unifying place where everyone feels welcome.
A family celebrating differences
“Twenty-five years ago, the good waiters were the ones who brought in the most plates. For me, the best waiter is, first and foremost, someone with the right values. When I arrived at St-Hubert in Val-d’Or, I reviewed our hiring priorities, placing more importance on people rather than productivity,” explains Annie.
With Marco's help, Annie has worked hard to raise her team's awareness of the realities of Indigenous communities and to educate them about the challenges that people with intellectual disabilities or physical limitations face. In fact, the couple have always made a point of hiring people with different backgrounds, like Julien, who has Down's syndrome and has been a host for twelve years now.
“Feeling that we are making a difference, that's why we do our job at the end of the day,” highlight Annie and Marco.
Beyond the restaurant’s doors
Annie and Marco’s reputation is well established. The entrepreneurial duo are known for their boundless involvement, from athletic activities to community events. Marco even goes so far as to reward his team when they give of their time to help those around them.
“For the past two years, we have been offering a reward program aimed at encouraging our employees to donate blood to the Red Cross. In exchange for a selfie as proof, we give them a meal worth $25,” adds Annie.
Though they’re not bragging about it, Annie and Marco were the first franchisees in the network to set up an after-prom drive-home service for high school kids. For 15 years, they have been bringing happiness to young people who are graduating high school. In 2020, while 270 graduates were unable to take advantage of the St-Hubert put-put-put drive (the delivery car), Annie and Marco adapted the experience by offering them scale models of the famous Beetle with a gift and words of congratulations.
Annie and Marco still have two to three years as franchisees. Jean-François, who worked at the rotisserie for over ten years, and Caroline, their general manager, will soon take over the restaurant. Annie and Marco say they are very happy to continue going there with the family, in this place where they have invested so much time and love.