Out of breath, the owners of Epicerie JA Moisan resign themselves to sell
The JA Moisan grocery store on rue Saint-Jean changes hands. Out of breath, the owners had no other choice but to pass the torch at the dawn of the 150th anniversary of the institution. They now want the buyer to continue the vocation of the oldest retail food business in North America.
“Total liquidation. Everything must be sold before renovation works. ”The posters in the shop windows of the famous Faubourg store do not lie. The three co-owners, the Clément brothers and François Saint-Laurent and Clément’s wife, Nathalie Deraspe, formalized the sale of the 1871 building which houses a four-bedroom inn and the grocery store of over 5,000 square feet.
“I am 67, my brother is 66. He wanted to sell five years ago. I was not able. I’m in love with this grocery store, ”says Clément, who also had to give up.
“Nathalie is at arm’s length. She does administration, purchases. She was starting to be exhausted. We work 70 hours a week. We can no longer recruit. And when we find, salaries are too expensive and we no longer had the cash. In addition, taxes have killed us. It’s $ 50,000 a year, ”he adds.
The sales process began three years ago with the aim of finding a buyer who is willing to continue the activities of the grocery store. “We wanted to do it discreetly, go and find the best investors possible. We have at heart the image of JA Moisan. We wanted it to continue. We were looking for the best who would respect the JA Moisan house. There have been many offers. But some were to change everything, “insists Mr. Saint-Laurent.
If he thinks he has found the right investor, changes, there will be hence the need to liquidate the inventory. “We give ourselves two months to empty the premises to carry out the work. That too should last two months. The goal is to continue grocery shopping, “he said, while leaving it to” the new “owner to explain to employees the public his intentions regarding the future of the business.
This sale also forced the three shareholders to proceed with a collective layoff (more than 10 employees) on December 30. They are now 17. “It was the most difficult,” admits the former engineer who changed his vocation in 1999 to become a grocer.
More details to come …