'He made an impact in the world': Widow, friends remember slain La Ronge restaurant owner

'Choices make you': Widow of slain La Ronge, Sask., restaurant owner hopes for closure

He was the quirky man with the fedora who opened a southern Louisiana barbecue restaurant in Saskatchewan's north.

But for many people in La Ronge, Simon Grant was much more.

He was a community leader, a mentor and a loving husband. 

"He was not a selfish person," said his wife, Cora Laich. "In this world, I think so many people do things for money or for praise. He just did it because that's who he was and I think people knew that."

Grant died after being injured in an armed robbery of his Louisiana's Bar-B-Que Restaurant in La Ronge last weekend. 

Police are still searching for three people they believe are responsible for the assault. RCMP are treating the case as a homicide. 

This weekend, hundreds of people are expected at a vigil honouring the late entrepreneur. The vigil is on Sunday night outside of his restaurant. 

Laich said the community wants to give back to the man many say gave so much. 

"He made an impact in the world and a good impact. He made life better for anybody — even somebody he met for a few minutes," Laich said. 

'He was like family'

Kate Young said Grant took a chance on her, giving her her first job at 16 as a waitress at the restaurant.

"I really owe a lot to him. He wasn't just my boss; he was like family," Young said.

She said Grant's death still doesn't feel real. But as police hunt for suspects, she said she is doing her best to remember  the restaurant owner for who he was, not how he died. 

"A lot of people right now are not focusing on how it happened and why it happened," she said. "We are just trying to focus on who he was as person and what he did for our community and the funny stories; the good stories; the good person that he was."

Young has set up a crowfunding page for Laich and her daughter. It's the least she can do, she said, for her mentor. 

A love of barbecue

Grant and Laich moved to La Ronge in 2013 after buying the Subway restaurant there. A year later, Laich recalls, Grant wanted to do something different. 

"He always wanted to build me my own restaurant," Laich said.

Grant complained that "all the food in La Ronge tasted the same," Laich said, and that's when he decided to travel south to Louisiana to learn the fine art of southern barbecue. 

On the menu was a two-pound burger nicknamed the Ultimate Challenge Burger. Anybody who finished the burger would get their photo put on the wall in the restaurant. 

Police still hunting for suspects

Earlier this week, police released photographs of the suspects in the armed robbery. They believe three men are behind the assault.

All three suspects were clad in black. Two were wearing balaclavas.

One suspect, wearing a black cap, black scarf, black hooded jacket and black pants had the word "black" in big, bold lettering emblazoned on his pants. 

Another suspect was wearing a black balaclava, black long-sleeved sweatshirt and dark pants, and was carrying a black duffle bag and handgun.

The third was wearing a black balaclava, black hooded sweatshirt and dark-coloured pants, and was carrying a light-coloured baseball bat.

The three were believed to be in the restaurant for less than five minutes.