Fredericton's Victory Meat Market loses beloved former owner
Bernard (Mike) Chippin, longtime owner of downtown grocery, has died at 87
Bernard (Mike) Chippin, the former owner of Victory Meat Market in Fredericton, died Wednesday at the age of 87.
Chippin and his brother Harry both owned the downtown Fredericton institution, known for local food and warm-hearted service, and also founded the Chippin Brothers Abattoir and H&B Realty.
Chippin, who had cancer, lived in Fredericton but his funeral was in Toronto.
Victory Meat Market, which was opened in 1939 by Chippin's father, Simon, closed for two hours on Friday to remember the man employees considered a role model.
Chippin never missed a day of work and everyone will miss his presence, said Nick Mouzar, who works a variety of jobs at the store.
Mouzar said Chippin was a father-like figure to many young employees.
Some customers on Friday didn't know Chippin personally but said they have been shopping at the grocery store for decades.
Abdi Shire, who has worked at the market for five years, said Chippin was a role model to him.
"We were very close," said Shire. "We'll be missing him."
They bonded in the produce department, often having personal chats while cutting up orange slices.
"He created a created and built an amazing place to work."
Shire said one of his funniest memories was of Chippin sneaking foods he wasn't supposed to eat.
"He's not supposed to eat pepperoni and stuff," Shire said. "Now and then, he would come in and that's the first thing he grabs. And I'd be like 'You can't eat pepperoni,' and he'd say things like "the hell with it.'"
The thought of not having Chippin around made Shire emotional.
'Just an incredible guy'
Many people will remember about Chippin for his passion about making sure customers knew exactly what they were paying.
"When he come out on the floor, 'You gotta have a sign, can't sell it without a sign,'" said Pat Stafford, a third-generation employee of the market.
Stafford recalled Chippin's willingness to help anyone, including the staff, and said the family has left a strong legacy.
"They will bend over backwards to help anyone," said Stafford.
And Chippin made everyone feel like family, Shire said.
"Just an incredible guy."