A young brother sister duo have taken over operations of the dépanneur in Bryson. Magan, 31, and Brett Cameron, 25, completed the final purchase of Bryson Mart on Sept. 1 and are nearly two months into their entrepreneurial adventure.
The idea came up nearly a year ago when the former owner, Jian Zhang, approached Magan and asked her if she wanted to take over the business from him.
Magan had been an employee of Zhang’s and worked as the store manager for years. She approached Brett to see if he wanted to partner with her. At the time, he was working as a supervisor at Giant Tiger in Shawville.
“If it was someone else, I’d have to think about it,” Brett said. But with their compatible personalities it was easy to accept his sister’s offer.
They then approached the SADC for help with funding.
“We were able to get a youth strategy loan to pay for the business,” Magan said. “It was a lot of work to prove this was a viable business.”
The two siblings, who both graduated from accounting programs, secured the money but it took nearly a year to work out the final details. It helped that there is no other direct competition in Bryson.
“It’s good. It’s nothing I haven’t already done … but now I have employees,” Magan said.
One of those employees, Tina Gauthier, is approaching 20 years working at the store. She said that she was hired on Nov. 1, 2000.
“I work, eat and shop Bryson Mart,” said Gauthier. “This is my life.”
Gauthier said that every summer people come in from out of town to stay at their cottages. She said she recognizes many of them and they also recognize her. Most of them are usually gone by October, but she said a few have stuck around due to the pandemic.
The store sells your standard convenience store snacks and food, but also has sections for cleaning supplies, tools and kitchen utensils. Beer can be found near the rear of the store and a large section of various celebration cards greet shoppers at the entrance.
“You can get anything here.” Gauthier said, “If we don’t got it, we’ll make sure to get it.”
Zhang owned the store for 23 years before the sale. He gave it up because it was becoming too much to run two businesses at the same time. He wanted to focus on running his nearby Ultramar gas station.
“I thought the new owners could do a better job than me,” Zhang said. “They were the best people for this local business in the community.”
The store itself is a site of some historical significance. According to local historian Perry Kluke, it was constructed shortly after the 1914 fire that destroyed much of Bryson.
Kluke also produced a small brown ashtray to commemorate the original store built by John Griffin.
“I used to come here when I was a kid. They used to have furniture and stereos,” Kluke said.
This history was not lost on the Cameron siblings who had grown up with the store their whole lives. Brett said they didn’t want it to be gone.
“It’s a staple of the community,” he said.
FREE ACCESS FOR EQUITY SUBSCRIBERS
This article is available free to all subscribers to The Equity. If you are a subscriber, please enter your email address and password below.
SET UP YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNT
If you are a subscriber but have not yet set up your online account, please contact Liz Draper at firstname.lastname@example.org to do so.
HOW TO BECOME A SUBSCRIBER