Pete Luckett

Founder and CEO of Pete's Frootique
TurningPoint: Opening up a fruit stand with his last $300

imgEverything Pete Luckett knows about life he learned from the produce business. “I was inspired as a little lad. I used to do my Mom‘s shopping with a few shillings in my pocket to buy the produce for the week.” As he wandered through the stalls of the markets in Nottingham, England, Pete was excited with the energy and excitement he saw. Going into business for himself at the age of twenty-one Pete opened up his own stall in the Victoria market.  “It was dog eat dog work competing with the twenty seven other fruit stands around you. They taught me to think on my feet and instilled an urgency in me.  I had some great training.” When it came time to name his new business Pete gathered a few friends together and asked for advice. “The lads and I went out to the pub and over 42 pints of beer we came up with (slurring) Petesh’s Frootique - and it stuck!”

When he was twenty-five Pete sold his business with plans to travel around the world. “Everyone thought I was crazy giving up a thriving business but I was willing to give it up for the lure of the open road.” By the time he reached Texas, Pete was ready to put down roots again so he applied to the U.S., Canada and Australia. Canada was interested in welcoming the affable Englishman and within eight weeks he had packed up his pickup truck and headed north. Every Texan he talked to about Canada pointed him towards Alberta and oil country so Pete thought that would be a great place to start. His dream was to run a farm but he found land was too expensive. His research led to another road trip and a farm twenty miles away from Moncton, New Brunswick. Pete was set – or so he thought. “I went broke and the dream went up in smoke. I hitchhiked down to St. Johns to look at a market I had head about. I sweet talked the owner to let me have a booth and with my last three hundred bucks I started a fruit stand.” Pete’s Frootique was back in business.

Powered by Pete’s determination and savvy business principals, Pete’s Frootique stores have won multiple awards and are now one of Eastern Canada’s strongest brands. “I’m lucky.  You’ve gotta go through hardship to be able to survive. It may be tough at the time but it usually builds character and helps you get through the next challenge or road block.”

Luckett says the produce business teaches you all about life.

“When you’re selling produce and you’ve got one hundred cases of ripe bananas to sell you get ready. Then a snowstorm hits and no one comes to your store. Two days later you have to throw one hundred cases of bananas in the garbage.  You have to bounce back and put a happy face on for your customer and act like it never happened. Swallow the loss, don’t look back and move on.  The sooner you get over your last loss, there’s a box of new apples you have to move on so kiss it goodbye and dump it.  You can relate that to life, when it’s all collapsing just you have to let it go.  I think people hang on to the end too often. Get on with life and move past your losses.”

Facing life’s turning points head on, Pete Luckett is showing no signs of slowing down. He has a new farm in the Annapolis Valley and because he won’t let grass grow under his feet he’s decided to go into the wine business. Luckett Vineyards will be launching several new wines this year along with a blackberry port and an apple/cranberry Kir.

“I wanted to be the best. I was always striving to be a leader and to try and make a difference. That carrot is always dangling. It’s important not to be complacent.  Take it a step further, move it to another level and bang-o you’re off on another venture.  A lot of opportunities still come up now. If only I was 30 years younger!”