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LAVAL, Quebec — Alain Bouchard, the founder of one of North America's largest retailers, is receiving international accolades.
Bouchard, the founder of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., will receive the International Horatio Alger Award in 2017, according to the Horatio Alger Association of Canada.
The International Horatio Alger Award is presented each year by the Washington, D.C.-based Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc. to an individual who has persevered through challenges to become a successful entrepreneur and community leader.
Recipients of the award become lifelong members of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada and its American affiliate, and serve as role models for its young scholarship recipients.
Bouchard will be honored in Washington, D.C., during the 70th Annual Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies, which will take place March 30-April 1.
"If anyone represents the idea of pulling oneself up by their bootstraps, it is Alain Bouchard," said Prem Watsa, president of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada. "Alain beat the odds time and again to become one of this country's greatest business leaders. His remarkable success story and achievements make him an ideal member of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada as we continue to expand and promote Canadian achievement."
According to the association, Bouchard was born in Chicoutimi, Quebec. His early years were marked by a typical middle class lifestyle, but that all changed when his father's business collapsed. The family of eight relocated further northeast where his father could find work.
"Bouchard learned about business watching his father struggle, and at the same time vowed to eventually build his own business that would be so strong, he would never fall back into poverty — a promise he ultimately kept," the association said.
Bouchard acquired his first convenience store in 1980 and expanded Laval-based Couche-Tard into a global business. The company counts more than 12,000 locations in its portfolio.
He stepped down as president and CEO in 2014, and he currently serves as executive chairman of the company's board of directors.
"I am honored and humbled to be joining the Horatio Alger Association and all of its esteemed members," Bouchard said. "I am inspired by the association's work helping hard-working students across Canada gain a higher education. I can't wait to get involved and help these young people achieve their dreams."
Bouchard is an officer of the National Order of Quebec. His honors include being named Canada's Outstanding CEO of the Year in 2012 and a Great Economic Builder of Quebec by the Institute for governance (IGOPP). He also received the NACS Insight International Convenience Leader of the Year award and the Fraser Institute's T. Patrick Boyle Founder's award in 2014.