Earls founder ‘Bus’ Fuller left lofty restaurant legacy

Leroy Earl (Bus) Fuller, the 90-year-old founder of the B.C.-based Earls and Joey restaurant chains, died on the weekend, according to a statement from his family.

The long-time resident of West Vancouver leaves behind a restaurant legacy that spans 65 years.

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Fuller’s first foray into the restaurant business was in 1954 when the Korean War veteran opened the Green and White Drive-Thru in Sunburst, Montana. He later moved his family to Edmonton and operated a string of A&W franchises in Western Canada, before opening, with his son Stan, the first Earls restaurant in the Alberta capital in 1982.

The casual dining chain began its rapid expansion following the Fullers’ move to British Columbia in 1983. There are now 68 Earls restaurants spread across Canada and the U.S.

Bus Fuller also helped his son Jeff start the Joey chain, which now numbers 28 restaurants across North America, in 1992.

The Fuller family also has a partial ownership in the Cactus Club chain, which was started in 1988 by Richard Jaffray and Scott Morison, a pair of former Earls servers.

“Those fortunate enough to work alongside and know Bus have lost an inspiring mentor, a charismatic leader and a true friend. Bus leaves behind a legacy that exists because of his dedication, hard work and ability to surround himself with great people. He has touched the hearts of many and will be forever loved and missed,” the Fuller family said in a statement.

The statement said Fuller died peacefully, surrounded by his family.

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