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Scotsburn man planning to open store seeks input from community


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Dan Vachon, whose offer on Scotsburn's farm services store has been accepted, asked the public at a meeting Thursday what they want to see the new store offer. AMY MACKENZIE – THE NEWS

SCOTSBURN – When Scotsburn Co-operative Services Limited announced the Farms Services retail store would close on June 1, Scotsburn resident Dan Vachon saw it as an opportunity to start the family business he’s been wanting.

Vachon said his offer to buy the store has been accepted and ratified by the board of directors. He held a meeting in Scotsburn Thursday night to present his vision for the store to the public and to get feedback from the people in the community about what they want to see offered when he opens it.

Vachon said he recently decided to stop working out west and when he heard on the radio that the store was closing he thought it sounded like a great opportunity to start a family-run business.

“And we just really think it’s a mainstay in the community,” he said.

Vachon said he wants to change the way the store was run in the past by including the community in deciding what the store will offer.

“It’s always been run from the top down. There have been corporate decisions to close down various aspects of the store in the past and some people have mentioned that they’d like to see them reopened, so we want some feedback from the community,” he said before the meeting Thursday.

Vachon said at the meeting that he plans to register the store as a co-op so he can continue to offer the same co-op brand products the customers are used to, but for the time being it will be a co-op of himself, his wife and his son. He said they may consider opening the co-op to more people further down the road.

“In Nova Scotia you only need three people and we’re doing it primarily so we can keep some of our suppliers that are Co-op Atlantic," he said. "Unless we become a co-op, we cannot use them as one of our main suppliers. Everyone will still be able to shop there."

Vachon said his family's vision for the new business will be to maintain the basic services customers are used to, but also to renovate it so it looks more like a country store, to look into supplying fresh produce and to expand into the unused portions of the store. Ideas he presented for the currently unused portions of the store was basic hardware supplies and potentially selling local artwork.

He said that because they're just starting out, they won't be able to provide store credit as the previous store had, but they will have debit and credit card services available.

He then said he wants to hear from the community about what they want to see brought into the store.

Community members at the meeting Thursday said they wanted to see local produce in the store and food items such as butter, cheeses and meat. They also said they wanted to see the store open later so people can pick up items on their way home from work and to potentially see a farmers market set up at the store, among other suggestions.

Vachon said he appreciated the suggestions and is taking them into consideration. He also had forms at the meeting and said he will continue to gather feedback.

Vachon said he has nine children and he plans to have some of them gain retail experience through the family business.

“I’m looking forward to having them get involved in retail and learn a few things,” he said.

Vachon has owned property in Scotsburn for 24 years but only settled down with his family there in 2009 as he travelled a lot for work as a paramedic and clergy.

“The plan was to move to Brazil for a medical mission there, but when the economy went bad in 2008, it forced us to move back home, that’s when we settled in Scotsburn,” he said.

Vachon said he has to have everything finalized for the sale by June 7 and the closing date is June 17. He plans to open the store as quickly as possible after receiving the keys to keep the gap between when the current store closes Saturday and when he opens his new store as small as possible.

amackenzie@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmy

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