Three young and dynamic women are running the convivial shop Bonjour Montreal. Originally, it started with the two Catherines: Catherine Archambault and Catherine Robichaud. They have known each other for a long time and became partners because of their mutual passion for ice-cream and people. First, they opened the dairy bar Chez Catherine, then the coffee shop Mlle Catherine. Later, they had the golden opportunity to open a shop next to their café. That’s when Laurence, who has a lot of experience in retail, joined this team of passionate entrepreneurs. When you talk to them, you can feel how close the three women are. They even joke and compare themselves to a pretzel: “Three parts that form one big piece”.
In the recent years, a refreshing breeze of modernity has embraced the Jacques-Cartier Square and just like its young and modern owners, the shop Bonjour Montreal is full of this vitality that you can now find in the neighbourhood. And apparently, their globetrotter clientele likes this kind of revival! “There are so many people, and they come from all over the world!” explained Catherine A. with enthusiasm. And to confirm her claims, a big map of the world is displayed on the wall of the café Mlle Catherine. On it, you can find colour dots, put by clients, to show where they’re from. The co-owner who loves interacting with clients and talking to them is thrilled at the idea that so many tourists come visit Bonjour Montreal to bring a part of the city with them when they go back. “These clients are the best clients ever! During summer, it’s the holidays so people are more relaxed, they come here to have a cup of coffee and walk around the shop”, she explained with sparkling eyes. Moreover, the fact that the shop and the café are so closed plays a big role in this relaxed atmosphere.
And the store has what it takes to please all sorts of clients: the items are affordable, diversified and local. Indeed, the companies that you can find on the shelves of the gift shop are local companies, either based in Quebec or in Canada. They sell souvenirs with a different approach and that’s mostly because Catherine R., who has family abroad, often asks herself: “What can I buy to help them discover the place where I live? What represents the fervour of Montreal and the Old-Montreal?”. They all pick products they love and that could please their loved ones and all their items will surely make people happy! It can be a jewel from Prysm or from the Bonjour Montreal collection, a cute notebook from Lili Graffiti, chocolate from Chocolat Boréal or the traditional maple syrup in a classic bottle… or not! There’s something for everyone!
Mothers, or soon to be, Catherine A., Catherine R. and Laurence have implemented this workflow with their interests in mind but also according to their family situation. Very often at the shop, they still manage to balance family life and work thanks to their three employees who are just like a second family to them. Laurence explained, “In life and at work, it’s a two-way exchange. To have good work relationships with our employees, we use a lot of positive reinforcement.”
You can meet these three inspiring women at the shop Bonjour Montreal and no doubt that you will probably leave with a gift for others or yourself, without breaking the bank!