Residents of St-Isidore and the surrounding area, will soon have to find other places to go to do their grocery shopping. The St-Isidore Valu-Mart store is closing on December 4, because owners Jacques and Lyne Roy are retiring.
The Roy’s have owned the only grocery store in the village for 30 years. Jacques began working in the grocery business 45 years ago as a meat cutter, before eventually getting his own store. The St-Isidore location was a Metro store before he took over. Valu-Mart is a brand of Loblaws, but all stores are independently owned and operated.
Jacques and Lyne decided three years ago they wanted to retire. They had prospective buyers for the store three times, but the deals fell through each time.
“We thought it was 85 per cent sold,” said Jacques.
He is optimistic the store will eventually reopen, but it will not be immediately.
“I think it will, but it’s going to take a year and a half.”
The store has been reducing the amount of some merchandise on the shelves, but regular weekly specials are available through the flyer until December 4. Christmas products are even available. Jacques said Loblaws will buy back all unsold inventory once the store has closed. He has also sold most of the refrigeration and shelving equipment in the store.
The St-Isidore Valu-Mart has 23 employees and seven of them are full-time. Jacques said all the full-time employees have found new jobs elsewhere. Some employees had worked at the store for the entire time the Roy’s have owned it.
Owning the grocery store has been a family and community affair for the Roy’s. Lyne has always worked in the office as the bookkeeper. Their two daughters and one son each worked at the store when they were growing up.
Jacques also owned the Junior “C” St-Isidore Eagles hockey team for five years.
“We put the juniors back on their feet here in St-Isidore,” he said.
The store also contributed to other activities and events in the community and helped supply the Riceville Food Bank.
For retirement plans, Jacques and Lyne Roy have sold their home in Limoges and are moving permanently to their cottage in Blue Sea, Québec, to enjoy snowmobiling.
Once the Valu-Mart has closed, the nearest grocery stores to St-Isidore will be in Casselman, Alfred, and Vankleek Hill.