Marie Anne Fournier and her sister Jeannine Bujaczek came up with the idea for a funky boutique and bistro in Montmartre, Saskatchewan, the minute they heard that a historic building in their hometown was for sale.
“We’ve both lived in many different places over the years, but our hearts were always in Montmartre,” says Marie Anne, one of nine girls in the Fournier family. “Coming back to our hometown and being able to provide people with designer clothing, funky accessories and fabulously fresh food is a dream come true for us.”
Marie Anne has always had a flare for fashion and an interest in food, while her sister Jeannine has worked in the retail fashion industry for 21 years. Both agree that it’s wonderful to be back in rural Saskatchewan, working at what they’re absolutely passionate about — fashion and food.
“When you open a business in a small town, you get that immediate support from the local people,” says Jeannine. “We realize that a town of 500 seems like a small market in which to open a cutting-edge fashion boutique, but really, the whole province and beyond is our market since we carry items that can’t be found anywhere else in Saskatchewan.”
Sisters’ Boutique & Bistro has attracted several chic Canadian designers, making the new shop the only one in Western Canada to carry the work of some of the country’s most creative tailors.
“The great thing about our boutique is that we actually meet the people who design our clothing, we get to know their stories, we support their creativity and we share in their success,” says Jeannine, explaining that Sisters’ business philosophy is to bring a worldly style to rural Saskatchewan. “We’re proving that you don’t have to live in Paris, Toronto or Vancouver to have access to the latest in designer fashions and the best in well-made clothing.”
Debbie Cham, designer of a luxurious line of clothing called Lux & Luster, says that while her fashions are available in Toronto, Quebec, Edmonton and Winnipeg, this is the first time Saskatchewan shoppers have access to her designs.
“I love that we are represented in Saskatchewan by Sisters’ Boutique. I met Marie Anne and Jeannine at a show in Toronto and I loved how much energy and enthusiasm they had about the store opening,” says Cham. “I grew up in Alberta so I’ve created Lux & Luster so that it’s feminine and fun, yet very wearable for Prairie women.”
Marie Anne says the support from designers and shoppers for the idea of a fashion-forward boutique located in a rural location has been overwhelming.
“We’re just so excited every day when a new shipment of unique designs, boots, purses or hats arrive,” says Marie Anne, explaining that DeLux hats, Groundhog boots and Shoeless Cat handbags fly out of the shop as fast as they can be ordered. “You won’t find most of what we carry anywhere else in Saskatchewan, so it just thrills us to know that we are giving people something that sets them apart from the crowd.”
And after a busy afternoon of trying on clothing, Jeannine says shoppers can treat themselves to a chai latte, homemade cinnamon bun or bowl of dill pickle soup in the bistro that is attached to the boutique.
“Our food is all about being fresh, so many of our ingredients come straight from the great gardens that we grow on the Prairies,” says Jeannine, highlighting menu items like autumn squash soup, rhubarb crisp and vegetable lasagna. “The dill pickle soup has been a huge hit, with people driving from miles around to try the Tuesday lunch special and the fact that we bake fresh bread every morning makes for a wonderful smell at coffee time.”
The Fournier sisters are also all about supporting local artists, so they have made room in their expansive boutique and bistro to display over 50 local works that range from charcoal sketches to framed photography and original paintings.
“We have fashion, food and fine art, so it all adds up to being a perfect drive to a wonderful rural community that we are proud to call home again,” says Jeannine.
Sisters’ Boutique & Bistro, is located on Main Street in Montmartre, Saskatchewan. The boutique is open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. The bistro is open Monday to Saturday. For bistro hours and more information, visit www.sistersboutiquebistro.com.
Christalee Froese writes from Montmartre, Saskatchewan