Acquired by two couples on the day after Christmas 2020, Au Clos Rolland, Couette & Café inn plunges visitors into another era in the heart of the village of Saint-Adele. A story of deep friendship, a place steeped in history and a unique and inspiring management principle.
Posted yesterday at 12:00 PM.
Claude Menard and Genevieve Robert met Jean-Francois LaPalme and Alexandre Girard ten years ago. “It was a kind of friendly love at first sight; We shared different moments together through common interests like traveling or hiking. We also love to eat well and that was one of the reasons why we wanted to do the inn together,” says Claude.
Claude and Genevieve had cherished the dream of running a B&B for a long time, then the idea of making this project a reality together with their great friends was born. “We liked the idea of living together, planning for the long term. We will form a family and we find it interesting to pool our assets and our energy,” says the mother of two youngsters. “We lived in Montreal for a long time, at one point, we felt a little breathless when we were living in the city with Claude and the children, so we moved to Sainte-Adèle eight or nine years ago. »
Lovers of old houses, the couple is well aware of the problems in an old house. Also Jean-Francois and Alexandre. The first was a nurse and saw people being received in a lodge: “It’s a different way of communicating than in my work context, but it’s a different context than inviting friends over to your home. »
When they saw that Auberge Au Clos Rolland was for sale, they all thought to themselves “This is huge! », but the visit won them over. “I didn’t sleep all night,” Claude recalls. The house can accommodate up to four people in separate apartments, an important aspect of maintaining everyone’s privacy, plus five bedrooms and five bathrooms for guests.
We put all our marbles in one bag because this arrangement was made for us.
Claude Ménard, co-owner of the inn of Au Clos Roland
The district of Mont-Roland was a city before municipal amalgamation. It was founded by Jean-Baptiste Rolland, who rose from an apprentice typographer to become an important businessman in the mid-19th century.e century “Rather than importing paper he had the idea to create his own printing press there and joined the revival of Pays-d’en-haute,” says Genevieve.
By purchasing land owned by the Americans in Mont-Roland, he expanded the factory and sold the land to his employees, thereby contributing to local development. The house was built in 1902 and extended around 1912. “It is decorated with lambrequins containing the effigy of the fleur-de-lis, because it was important to Mr. Roland to show that it was a Canadian house -French”, asserts Claude . The property remained in the family until 1995. Later it was sold and converted into an inn without changing its historical aspect.
Restore according to the rules of art
Buying such a large estate requires constant maintenance and the burden is heavy. The quartet was well aware of the work to be done and planned to restore it to its former glory. “We do a lot of painting and we look for pieces of wood to replace the damaged ones. It’s not easy, it’s hard to find skilled artisans,” Mr. Menard said.
“Of course it needs love, but the woodwork, the stairs are extraordinary. It is very important for us to upgrade things while respecting what is already there,” enthuses Jean-Francois. Another challenge successfully met: bring plumbing and electricity up to standard.
We want our customers to benefit from modern amenities while retaining the identity of the property.
Jean-Francois LaPalme, co-owner of the inn
The four friends were very excited when it started in May 2021. Over time, they found solutions to various problems. “We serve four-course dinners to our hostel guests. So we have 14 people at the table. We quickly realized that the evenings of cooking are long and there is little time to chat with people, which is often the contact they are looking for when they are at the gate » , Claude explains.
Jean-Francois replied in a humorous tone that this was Claude’s madness: investing in industrial equipment to save time. So they bought professional appliances, including a dishwasher that works in 140 seconds! Everyone agrees that the game is worth the candle on all counts. The technological improvements also go through the new reservation system they just bought, as the previous owners took them on paper.
An ideal company
Well equipped, the team is better organized, but the way it manages the lodge is also its strength. “We’re lucky to have jobs that allow us to take time off without pay or with deferred pay. So we take care of Gait,” Genevieve explains.
Jean-Francois will therefore take over from Claude, currently in charge until the end of 2022. “We naturally help each other. It’s really a balance so it doesn’t burn out, and even if it’s not for now, it’s also our great retirement project,” she concluded.