The owners of the Fraisière Lamoureux, located on the chemin Rivière la Guerre in Saint-Anicet, have sold the family-run business after 40 years.
“When I was approaching 60, I started to think it was time to just focus on our restaurant and fruit store. This will also allow us to spend more time in Florida,” says Diane Bouchard.
A bit of history
The Fraisière was founded in 1981 by Jacques and Liliane Lamoureux. Twenty years later, the business was transferred to their son Michel Lamoureux and Bouchard, his wife.
“We started with strawberries and sweet corn,” explains Bouchard. “We had a vegetable greenhouse and were more specialized in ornamental flowers and were the only ones producing annual flowers,” she says. The farm also grew strawberry, tomato, and cucumber plants in the greenhouse, which helped them to gain a reputation locally with customers.
The family also owns a second greenhouse on Route 132, which allowed them to sell their products in the village as well. It was a lot for two people to manage.
Bouchard admits that her passion has always been the restaurant business, so they opened a restaurant and fruit store in the heart of Saint-Anicet. With these two additional businesses, the couple finally decided to concentrate on the newer initiatives and take a well-deserved semi-retirement.
A new chapter
“We sold in November last year to Jessica Martel and André Dubois,” says Bouchard. After purchasing the business, the new owners wasted no time in settling in. Since the beginning of March, the former owners have been working closely with Martel and Dubois, making sure they pass down all their knowledge and experience. Bouchard says she and her family will accompany the young couple throughout the production process this first year, so loyal customers are not confused.
Bouchard says the transition is going very well. “Jessica is very charismatic,” she says. “She will bring some new colour and a fresh approach to the business,” adds Bouchard, who notes Martel’s ambition and passion for the business. In fact, Bouchard suggests the young couple is like the “relève” or future generation that they never had. She says they are pleased to have found buyers for the company in which they can have full confidence. “We are going to leave them with all the tools they need,” says Bouchard. “We want Jessica and her husband to have another 40 years of success, just like the last 40.”
The Fraisière Lamoureux has now officially been renamed the Jardins Rivière la Guerre. The new owners point out the name refers not only to the road on which the business is located, but to the culture and history of Rivière la Guerre as well.
Fortunately for Martel and her husband, their production was not affected by the power failure triggered by the ice storm outage earlier this month; but, says Martel, they still experienced some damage. “One of the greenhouses was struck by lightning while an employee was working inside,” she says. Fortunately, the employee wasn’t hurt, but the lightning blew off two furnace heads in the greenhouse and broke the automated system that monitors the temperature. “We had no choice but to check the greenhouses overnight to make sure everything was okay,” Martel says.
A great adventure
Martel is very excited about their grand opening on May 12. For Mother’s Day, May 14, they will be giving away a free potted flower to all moms with a minimum purchase of $10.
“This is the beginning of a great adventure for our family,” says Martel, who insists they will maintain the high-quality standards customers have come to expect from the Fraisière Lamoureux.