Pierre Ferland smiles as he walks through his restaurant in St. Maarten, greeting and talking to customers in English and French. He waves to the police chief who has come in for lunch and stops to help a busy waiter.
Pineapple Pete’s is an island hotspot.
Born on a farm outside of Quebec City, Pierre started his own business at the age of nine selling fishing worms, and with his savings went on to put himself through university.
With a love for the hospitality industry his travels took him all the way to the Caribbean.
“It was a feeling when I landed. I just loved St. Maarten”.
The year was 1996 and today he is the proud owner of five businesses on the island employing over 80 people.
“Self-discipline is the only thing that will get you through. You also have to learn how to control being homesick so I fly home a lot,” he says with a smile.
Ferland also gives back to the island supporting local churches, charities, sports teams, musicians and authors.
“I was helped, so now I give back because I like to see people succeed.”
On being successful in another country:
• Do your homework and learn about the market, the labour force, work permits and taxes.
• Choose a business you have experience in because you can’t rely on someone to run it for you.
• Check your supplies and adapt to what you can get in your geographic region.
• Have self-discipline and stay away from tourist temptations like gambling and drugs.
• Balance your family life with work. I give 200 per cent every time I’m here but I have two kids and I just want to be a perfect dad.