By William McGinn and Roderick Benns
Local businessman and owner of Burns Bulk Foods, Dan Burns, died May 2 after a year-long battle with lung cancer at 48, prompting an outpouring of emotion.
The father of two started working at Burns Bulk Food in 1985 when his parents purchased the business.
“The emptiness in our hearts from the loss of our Dan is being filled with pride,” Megan Burns, his late wife, told the Advocate.
“The tributes and memorials in his honour have touched us so deeply and demonstrate how the kindness and generosity Dan showed others has impacted them. We are lucky to have loved someone so hard to say goodbye to,” she said.
Megan said, “Dan was lucky to have a job that didn’t feel like work because he loved it so much.”
In fact, his favourite part of the job “would be catching up with the customers while scooping some chocolate almonds to snack on.”
He also felt fortunate to work with his family, Megan adds, with four generations involved, and he treated his staff like family, too.
Luis Segura, co-owner of North Ward/Fresh Fuell, met Burns after moving to Lindsay from Toronto long ago.
“When my wife Leanne and I started our business here,” said Segura, “he was definitely one of our cheerleaders and always providing input and guidance as we started.”
From a small business standpoint, Burns was a big advocate for supporting local businesses, “but also from the outside, you could tell he was very much a family man, great husband, a great father,” said Segura.
Melissa McFarland, executive director of Lindsay Downtown BIA, said “Dan’s passing is a huge loss for our downtown community.”
“He was a wonderful person, always ready to chat with a smile, and the first one to volunteer for committees, or to offer something for events and promotions. He’ll always be an important part of the fabric of our downtown and will be greatly missed,” she said.
French baker Mickaël Durand said in every community “there is a figure that stands out for the positive energy” they share with others.
“Dan was that figure in Lindsay.”
Durand said he “started as a simple customer” and then started talking and testing out some ideas with Burns, eventually partnering with him by having some of his baked goods at Burns Bulk Food.
The baker said he was “looking forward to collaborating together” more, since he believed their occupations were complementary. “A visit to his shop was always a great time for me.”
While the news took many people by surprise, Segura says that doesn’t surprise him.
“Most people didn’t really know he was battling cancer because he’s so positive. You never would’ve known.”
He said many people came into their store today to purchase Burns’ favourite Orange Creamsicle smoothie that the Segura’s renamed in his honour.