ABRAM-VILLAGE – March 12, 2023 – The Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI (CCAFLIPE) took great pride in inducting two fantastic farmers, a magnificent multi-entrepreneur and two generous food co-op managers into its PEI Acadian and Francophone Business Hall of Fame Saturday, March 11.
‘These are all people who have accomplished so much throughout their careers and always with big community-centered hearts,” said Pierre Gallant, spokesperson for the Chamber in his welcome address to the 2023 Entrepreneurs’ Gala. « We sincerely thank and congratulate them. We are honoured to have their names and photos permanently displayed on our Wall of Honour in the meeting room of the Rural Action Centre in Wellington.”
During the induction ceremony, held in Abram-Village, nothing but praise and accomplishments were mentioned for:
• Melvin Gallant of St. Timothy, who farmed for over 41 years and served as manager (or assistant manager) of the Evangeline Community Pasture for some 32 years;
• Euclide Gallant, who farmed at Towerside Farms in Urbainville for over half a century;
• the late Euclide Arsenault, the multi-entrepreneur who owned Arsenault & Gaudet, an Irving Garage, Red Rock Beach, etc., for decades;
• Jeanne Durant, who was assistant manager of the Mont-Carmel Co-op for 37 years;
• and Ernest Arsenault, who was an employee of the Wellington Co-op for 37 years, the last 27 as manager.
In turn, these five were each presented with a trophy and a framed certificate featuring the Hall of Fame logo and a replica of the permanent plaque that will be displayed on the Wall of Honour in Wellington. Each of their inductions were greeted with hearty standing ovations from the 172-person audience. The Hall of Fame and the awards are officially sponsored by Provincial Credit Union; chief operating officer Alfred Arsenault was pleased to present the trophies while the Chamber’s spokesperson presented the certificates.
This lifetime achievement award is given to recognize the economic and community contributions of Island Acadian or Francophone businesspeople and entrepreneurs.
GROUP PHOTO: On behalf of the official sponsor of the Acadian and Francophone Business Hall of Fame, Alfred Arsenault (standing right), chief operating officer of the Provincial Credit Union, assisted the Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI’s spokesperson Pierre Gallant (standing left) in presenting trophies and framed certificates to the five inductees on March 11 during the 2023 Entrepreneurs’ Gala. The inductees were (seated, from left) farmer Melvin Gallant of St. Timothy, the late multi-entrepreneur Euclide Arsenault of Wellington (represented by his brother John « Florin » Arsenault), farmer Euclide Gallant of Wellington (and formerly of Urbainville), Ernest Arsenault of Wellington, former manager of the Wellington Co-op, and Jeanne Durant of Wellington (and formerly of Mont-Carmel), former assistant manager of the Mont-Carmel Co-op, represented by her grandson Benjamin Gallant (standing in the center).
ERNEST ARSENAULT – Ernest Arsenault began his career in 1962 at the former Arsenault & Gaudet general store as manager of the meat department. In 1970, he was hired to manage the meat department at the Wellington Co-op. Ten years later, he was promoted to manager, a position he held for 27 years until his retirement in 2007. Ernest led the Co-op through a series of major transformations to make it more profitable and competitive. In 1990, he even oversaw the construction of a new store attached to the Place du Village mini-mall in Wellington. Ernest was a pioneer in environmental protection. In the 1990s, in an effort to reduce the volume of plastic shopping bags going to landfill, he hired a group of local women to make reusable cotton shopping bags. Each co-op member received five bags. It was only 15 years later that plastic bags were banned across the Island. This humble, kind and generous gentleman also devoted a lot of time to educating members on co-operative values. He was also a great volunteer for other organizations, such as the Basket Weavers’ Co-op.
PHOTO: Alfred Arsenault from the Provincial Credit Union, left, and Pierre Gallant of CCAFLIPE, right, welcome a new inductee to the Business Hall of Fame, Ernest Arsenault, former manager of the Wellington Co-op.
EUCLIDE ARSENAULT – The late Euclide Arsenault represented the third generation of his family to own and operate the imposing Arsenault & Gaudet general store in Wellington. In 1957, the company joined the Clover Farm Group. The following year, a fire destroyed its warehouses. Euclide rebuilt the warehouses across the street and added a gas bar, a garage, a television and appliance store, and a plumbing supply depot. The store ceased operations in 1972, a victim of competition from the big box stores in Summerside. In the 1960s, Euclide also co-owned the beach and campground, Red Rock Beach, in Maximeville. He was appointed justice of the peace in 1961, a counsellor at the Manpower Centre in Summerside from 1975 to 1977, and manager of the Unit 5 (Evangeline) School Board from 1978 to 1981. In addition to being a respected businessman, Euclide was a great community leader; the Acadian and Francophone cause was very close to his heart. Among other things, he was one of the founders of the Evangeline School, the first president of the Evangeline School Board and the mayor of Wellington for many years. Euclide passed away in December 1981.
PHOTO: Alfred Arsenault of Provincial Credit Union, left, presents the late Euclide Arsenault’s Business Hall of Fame induction trophy to his daughter Lucie Arsenault, his brother John « Florin » Arsenault and his daughter Monique Arsenault, while Pierre Gallant of CCAFLIPE presents them with a certificate.
JEANNE DURANT – After taking a course in accounting, Jeanne worked as a bookkeeper and in customer service at a car dealership in Summerside. It was here that she met a mechanic named Ronald (Ronnie) Durant; they were married in July 1959. The following year, Ronnie and Jeanne began their careers at the Mont Carmel Co-op. For 37 years, while Ronnie was the manager of the grocery and general store, Jeanne worked as an accounting clerk, cashier, stocking clerk, customer service manager and assistant manager. In 1997, she officially retired from the Mont Carmel Co-op. Jeanne and Ronnie have received many recognitions for their dedication: the Co-op Order of Merit and two Recognition Awards from the members of the Mont-Carmel Co-op. Over the years, Jeanne has served on many committees, including the Mont-Carmel Church Ladies Auxiliary where she was secretary for many years. She was also the bookkeeper for the Mont-Carmel Club 50 for many years and a member of the Mont-Carmel Parish Finance Committee. Jeanne now lives at the Chez-Nous home in Wellington.
PHOTO: Jeanne Durant, former assistant manager of the Mont-Carmel Co-op, accepts her induction into the Business Hall of Fame from Alfred Arsenault of the Provincial Credit Union (left) and Pierre Gallant of CCAFLIPE (second from right), while Jeanne’s grandson, Nico Durant, accompanied his grandmother.
EUCLIDE GALLANT – At a very young age, Euclide Gallant began working on the family farm in Urbainville, helping to raise beef and dairy cattle as well as planting and harvesting potatoes, grain, hay and other plants. In 1957, he married Éliza and they raised seven boys together. In 1978, Euclide took over the family business and turned it into a dairy farm, which he named Towerside Farms after the telecommunication towers on his land. The farm raised 75 to 100 cattle annually; 25 of these were kept in dairy production. His cattle won many ribbons at various shows over the years. In 1999, Euclide transferred the farm to his son and in 2005 they decided to shut down its operations. Euclide volunteered on the boards of directors of various organizations such as the Evangeline Region Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, ADL, Wellington Co-op, Evangeline Credit Union, Summerside French Social Club and Egmont Bay Parish Council. For 33 years, Euclide was a bus driver for the French Language School Board. He lives at Le Chez-Nous in Wellington.
PHOTO: Alfred Arsenault of Provincial Credit Union, left, and Pierre Gallant of CCAFLIPE, right, welcome the new inductee to the Business Hall of Fame, farmer Euclide Gallant of Wellington (formerly of Urbainville).
MELVIN GALLANT – Melvin Gallant began his agricultural career of more than 72 years on the family farm in 1950 at the age of seven, helping his father raise dairy and beef cows, pigs, chickens and sheep, as well as growing potatoes. In 1975, he became the farm’s manager and in 1980, its owner. It was then that he decided to concentrate his efforts on dairy production. With over 300 acres of land, he maintained 25 dairy cows and 25 young stock. He ceased dairy farm operations in 1991 but maintained some cattle for a few more years. Melvin has dedicated much time to the Evangeline Community Pasture. He served on its board of directors from 1970 to 2016, was its full-time manager from 1991 to 2020, and for the last two summers acted as co-manager with his son John. Melvin has served on numerous committees and boards, including those of the Evangeline Region Agricultural Exhibition and Acadian Festival, the Coopérative de développement culturel et patrimonial de Mont-Carmel, the Centre Goéland and the Acadian Pioneer Village.
PHOTO: Melvin Gallant (center), who has worked in the agricultural industry for some 73 years, accepts his induction into the Business Hall of Fame from Alfred Arsenault of Provincial Credit Union (left), who presents him with a trophy, and Pierre Gallant of CCAFLIPE, who presents him with a certificate.
For more information, please contact:
Raymond J. Arsenault
2023 Entrepreneurs’ Gala
Acadian and Francophone Chamber of Commerce of PEI