Pierre Ferland

International Entrepreneur

imgPierre Ferland smiles as he walks through his restaurant in St. Maarten greeting and talking to customers in French and English. 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 in St. Henri-de-Levis just outside of Quebec City, Pierre started his own business at the age of nine selling fishing worms. He was so successful he was able to pay for his education at the University of Laval with his savings and by working the in the St. Hubert restaurant chain. 

“Within two years I was assistant manager with 45 people under me.”

With a love for the hospitality industry his travels took him to the island of St. Maarten in 1996. Within three years he bought a small steakhouse in a popular tourist area and started renovating. The restaurant turned out to be in worse shape that he thought.

“I ran out of money so I flew home to Quebec.  I had a business plan and I met with my brother Raymond.  I had never asked for anything from anybody and I felt so ashamed.”

Raymond looked at Pierre and said, “You’re my brother.  I don’t need your business plan.”

Ferland accepted the loan and went back to St. Maarten. Pineapple Pete’s was a hit as soon as it opened 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.

Several years later Pierre brought Raymond to St. Maarten to show him his restaurant.

“When he walked in it was the proudest moment of my life. He turned to me and said, ‘You did well’”

Pierre gets emotional as he thinks back to that day but he smiles again as he talks about the local churches, charities, sports teams, musicians and authors he helps support on the island.

“I was helped, so now I give back because I like to see people succeed.”

Raymond taught his brother well.


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 percent every time I’m here but I have two kids and I just want to be a perfect dad.