For Frank and Agnes Lovsin giving back is just what you do.
As one of the founders, past CEO, and current Chair of the Board at Freson Bros. Markets Ltd. Frank Lovsin is a familiar face around the corporate offices. With 15 locations across the province and more than 1000 employees, his work was integral in creating one of Alberta’s most impressive business empires. On this beautiful Thursday afternoon, however, the Lovsin’s focus is on the importance of family, their many grandchildren, and the legacy they want to leave behind.
Frank and Agnes Lovsin are both children of immigrants who moved from Europe to work in Alberta as farm laborers. Once the harvest season was over laborers were let go, and their families ended up finding work in the neighboring coal mining town of Mountain Park, Alberta. Hard work was something the Lovsin’s learned from growing up in an industry town; it wasn’t uncommon for men to ride the rails into town looking for work arriving hungry, tired, and with no place to go. Frank fondly remembers his mother giving hot meals, and a place to sleep to those who needed it. She never turned anyone away.
The Lovsin’s have carried this innate sense of helping others throughout their lives. Even when the couple is excitedly discussing the many impressive athletic accomplishments of their grandchildren, they draw a connection between participation in activities and learning valuable life lessons including determination, learning to lose as well as you win, and playing even when it hurts.
The Lovsin family on Frank & Agnes’ 50th Anniversary
When asked about his impressive entrepreneurial legacy Frank is quick to say that success in business is about people. In fact, a motivating factor in expanding beyond the original Hinton butcher shop all those years ago was the promise of creating more jobs for the great people in the organization. Frank defines his greatest success in business as creating opportunities for individuals and their families.
It’s clear that the Lovsin’s feel that giving back is the right thing to do and the scope of their generosity throughout the years is incredible. Whether it’s supporting a community fundraiser BBQ in front of a Freson Bros. Marketplace, or sponsoring the entire food budget for the Alberta Winter Games, it’s clear that the Lovsin’s are dedicated to giving back.
The couple explained, “Time and again we would see people move to a community with their family and they would do well. Families would end up with powerful assets that end up leaving the community when they retire and move away. They wouldn’t volunteer or be active in the community, and that’s just not the way that we are.” Frank emphasizes that it’s not about the money you make or the things you have and emphasizes, “Nobody takes their money with them when they go.” The Lovsin’s believe that people have a duty to give back and do their part to better the communities where we live, and they’re just doing their part.
Frank and Agnes Lovsin
Although they have moved from Northwestern Alberta to be closer to family, the Frank and Agnes spent 54 years of their life in Peace River and will always call it home. The couple has decided to give back to the communities that gave them so much by establishing the Frank and Agnes Lovsin Legacy Fund in partnership with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta. This donor-advised endowment fund will be established with a generous initial gift valued at $1,028,591, and the resulting grants will be dedicated to supporting community building projects and programs taking place in communities in the North Peace Area.
Frank and Agnes are genuinely excited for the opportunity to give back in such a significant way saying, “This fund will contribute to important projects and will help to realize a vision in the community that we call home.”
While we’re chatting about this impressive legacy that they’ve created over speaker phone at IGA’s head office in Stony Plain, I hear a bit of a shuffle. Frank explains that in anticipation of their visit to the office Agnes whipped up a batch of her famous plum dumplings, and she couldn’t let next door’s meeting end without everyone getting some dessert with their mid-afternoon coffee.
This simple moment represents Frank and Agnes well. As individuals, they both have a powerful sense of duty to family, community, and the world around them. Simply put, the Lovsin’s are the kind of people who leave a community better than the way that they found it.
Through the establishment of their endowment fund, Frank and Agnes Lovsin are continuing their legacy of service and building better communities today and forever.