Les Jardins Valmont in Montreal is known for what its owners call the fruit and vegetable show: eye-popping, carefully balanced piles of fresh produce arranged under bright lights to seduce shoppers.
But at the newest of the chain’s seven stores, Valmont Galerie Gastronomique, in the sprawling shopping complex Quartier Dix30 (Ten 30 District) in Brossard, on Montreal’s South Shore, the store is the show. Here, the piles of produce are shrunk to maximize freshness.
Valmont Gastronomique is best described as a fine-food emporium whose hallmark is a series of boutiques, some of which are subcontracted to Montreal-area businesses that pay rent and supply their own staff and products.
These include Boucherie Lorrain (a butcher and fishmonger), Arhoma (a baker), Rolland (a pastrymaker), Toi, Moi et café (a bistro) and Chez Lionel, a restaurant whose chef, Ian Perreault, has set up an 800-sq.-ft. kitchen, preparing eight daily main courses and sides.
Valmont’s co-owner Pierre Legault says his team spent two years planning the $4-million store. Research showed a market in suburban Brossard for fine food, aged meats and ready-to-eat fare.
The store itself is 15,000 sq. ft. of shopping space, 2,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and 2,800 sq. ft. of mezzanine. Total employees number about 100, roughly two- thirds of which are Valmont’s.
Most Valmont stores are places to pop in after work to pick up a few things for dinner; a daily destination. This store is seen by Legault as a place to visit once a week, or even once a month, from all over the island as part of an excursion for exclusive and local-focused food.
The store’s location should certainly help draw customers. The Dix30 is a popular shopping mall, anchored on one end by the Montreal Canadiens training facility, in the middle by Walmart and at the far end by Canadian Tire. Other grocery stores in the mall include natural supermarket Avril and Marche Adonis.
Though it’s focused on food, Valmont hasn’t forgotten customers looking to fill their pantry. For the first time at any of its stores, Valmont has added a sundry section, with everything from paper products to cat litter to Jell-O, all to keep customers from shopping elsewhere.