5 years later, we are still there and our relationship with them has blossomed into a meaningful friendship!
Located in downtown Trois-Rivières, the Marché Notre-Dame is a hybrid between a neighborhood grocery store with distinguished, quality products and a friendly café, perfect for a lunch break! I wanted to bring you into their universe and learn more, while making you discover it!
Marie: Let's start at the beginning, where did you meet?
Geneviève: We met while working at a restaurant in Montreal, the Kinzo, more than 10 years ago. We worked really well together, while laughing a lot and having a lot of fun. We already had a good bond 🙂
Marie: How did you get the idea to open your own business?
Geneviève: Shortly after meeting, we often talked about our entrepreneurial projects, our dreams and our aspirations...We continued working together for a while and we would discuss how we would do things differently and how we would do it if we were an entrepreneur and soon, we decided to get started and buy a house in order to start our project. Basically, we wanted to open a lodging establishment. We wanted to start an inn or a bed and breakfast, a sort of hybrid between a youth hostel and a country tourist lodge. We wanted it to be In the countryside, to grow our own fruits and vegetables to become as self-sufficient as possible and to cook meals in addition to creating an authentic customer experience in the countryside for urban or international tourists. We ended up starting the gardens and then La Ferme Maurice. Since the house was located in an agricultural zone, it helped the request for an exemption to start the business. In the end, we never opened the B&B because an opportunity opened up in the space where Le Colimacon used to be and it was the perfect space to open what is now Le Marché Notre-Dame. A café-neighborhood grocery store offering local products.
Marie: You both love to travel, have your experiences given you a different vision on food and everything related to it?
Geneviève: Yes, of course! In addition to working together, we traveled together quite a bit. While traveling through Europe, we visited many small grocery stores and inspiring cafes. Even today when we travel (less often now that we are in business) we still love to visit cafes and small grocery stores. We find that it is really in these places that we find the essence of the local culture.
Marie: What product is your current favourite? (Not allowed to choose flambette, that would be too easy!)
Geneviève: We can say that we are extremely proud when we sell our vegetables or our eggs from the farm. It brings me joy when people buy some of my plants. I take great pleasure in letting clients know how to care for them and trying to help them choose the right fit. And Jean-François, who has a passion for magazines, is happy to keep a fine selection of Quebec magazines in store.
Marie: What makes you most proud when someone walks into Le Marché?
Geneviève: We are proud when people tell us how beautiful it is and how good it smells because we did almost everything ourselves so it touches us directly when people like it.
Marie: With summer coming up, downtown is starting to bustle and the gardens are getting crowded! Do you have anything in the works?
Geneviève: Yes!! For us, spring rhymes with the preparation of the gardens and sowing so we are in the midst of it right now. Each year, we always plant a little more plants than necessary for our vegetable garden sale, which is always a great festive weekend on Notre-Dame Street, the commercial street in downtown Trois-Rivières. This year, we are also taking part in the Flambette workshop sale. We will be on site with a BBQ, our coolers and lots of good things to drink and eat! We can't wait and we hope it will become a great tradition! Haha
Marie: What inspires you on a daily basis?
Geneviève: Our inspiration often comes from the quality of local products and the producers/artisans behind them and also via social media. Because we can’t travel as often anymore, we find inspiration through instagram accounts like coffee shops and grocery stores that we follow from all over the world. We particularly like what we see in the UK.