Grand opening of Café Dowtown in Fort-Coulonge
Owner Rémi Bertrand explains the challenges of starting a business in full confinement
Article published on 20 January 2021
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Pontiacers can now visit a new business, le Café Downtown, which is located in Fort-Coulonge, in a completely renovated building adapted to welcome customers, but also for shows. The Downtown, as owner Rémi Bertrand affectionately calls it, aims to offer an original menu, inspired by the American West Coast.

“We took inspiration from places I frequented in California and Seattle, but what we have done in recent months is to receive ideas from several people in the community. It’s incredible because people made suggestions to us, so that we could serve certain products or use certain decorations. They were very generous in offering us their ideas, ”explains Rémi Bertrand. This new business is in a building that has been refreshed and is already changing the identity of rue Baume in Fort-Coulonge. Not only is the place characterized by a particular identity, but the building has been transformed to become a warm and friendly place as Rémi Bertrand wishes. “My daughter has a friend who designed the kind of interior we were looking for. My family lived in the wood industry, I worked in this industry, I wanted to give a nod to this industry. I really like the result “says the owner with a passion. “The efforts and works were numerous and the whole family participated in the creation of the place. Even my 80-year-old father contributed by bringing bricks” exclaims Rémi Bertrand, who admits to particularly enjoying the brick wall which adorns the stage installed in front of the reception desk. “I wanted to combine what I liked with “ Downtown ”. One of my passions has always been music, especially what is “live”. We have installed an intimate stage which will be able to receive talented artists and offer a real experience to the spectators ”underlines the owner.

A wide variety of products for business meetings, for a morning coffee or for a bite to eat with friends, in short the owner wants people to be able to adopt the “Downtown”. “All occasions deserve a place to enjoy each moment and we think we have an advantageous geographical location” says the owner.

Starting a business in the midst of a pandemic? Why not!
For now, it’s possible to pick up take-out orders, but the Café Downtown team will have to wait before welcoming people to their dining room and to shows. “Wanting to start a business is no small task, but starting a business in the restaurant and entertainment industry is already a bit of madness, so in full confinement, you have to be mad" Exclaims Rémi Bertrand.

Café Downtown benefited from a multi-week social media campaign that featured the entire site team in a way that showcased each member’s contribution. “I wanted to count on friendly and professional employees, that’s really important to me,” says Rémi Bertand.

The French interview with Café Downtown owner Rémi Bertrand is available here.

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