neighbourhood stories

Welcome to Mr. Smiley’s

9 years of service

28 dedicated employees

8 unforgetable Family Days

Family is Daniel Croteau’s most valuable asset. But for him, family encompasses more than just his wife and two daughters. His family includes each one of his employees whom he sincerely appreciates, every single one of his customers, and the entire community he serves with energy and passion.

The ties that tightly bind

It was back in 2008 during a typically homely meal that Mr. Croteau and his family discussed their deep desire to invest in a joint venture. Their greatest wish was to work together and succeed together for the well-being of their tightly knit family. Daniel still remembers the distinct twinkle his daughter Émilie’s eyes, then graphic designer, when discussing the project throughout dinner and for the rest of the evening. It was soon after that the opportunity to buy Marché Bonichoix de Sainte-Hélène popped up. They went to visit the town and store incognito, and immediately fell under the charm of this quaint little spot of heaven. It was then that Daniel Croteau, Sylvie Desnoyers, Serge Harvey, Isabelle Croteau, and Émilie Croteau decided to seize the opportunity and become business partners.

A family business in the broad sense of the term

At the Croteau family’s Marché Bonichoix, customers are always greeted with a smile, everyone knows that. That’s why a customer nicknamed Daniel “Mr. Smiley.”  All the town’s children, whom Daniel treats like his own grandkids, are eager to come back week after week to choose a surprise from his treasure chest.

“At a Christmas party, one of my staffers got dressed up as me, with a pillow over his tummy, glasses and the whole shebang. Just thinking about it still makes me laugh!”

A neighbourhood party everyone talks about

For the past nine years now, the Croteau family has organized an annual Family Day where the entire community is invited. Hundreds of people show up to savour delicious hot dogs while the kids enjoy themselves in the bounce houses and with the other activities set up just for them. This anticipated event is a huge success each year!

  • Over 4,800 hot-dogs devoured since the first Family Day
  • At least 2,496 eggs beaten each year to prepare their famous egg tart.
  • An average of 8,840 kg of sausages prepared each year by their butchers.
A community that’s part of the family

Each year, Daniel and Émilie (his partner as he affectionately calls her) are proud to make it their duty to give back to this community that means so much to them. The Croteau family raises money for the town’s school and also works in close collaboration with the recreation centre and day camp. The first edition of their traditional barbecue (mechoui) also allowed them to raise $1,680 for the community fund thanks to the 200 guests who attended.

A recipe for success that’s worth the extra mile

They truly love their little corner of the world and everyone who lives there. They know their customers by name as well as the tastes of many among them, which is precisely why they decided to keep several “house” recipes for the dishes they prepare in-store at Marché Bonichoix. These recipes, like their famous Mexican pot pie and show-stopping egg tart, are so famous that some customers are even willing to go the extra mile to enjoy one and strike up a conversation with their favourite grocers.