These Ontarians run the village general store in their basement | Northern Ontario Browser

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These Ontarians run the village general store in their basement | Northern Ontario Browser

In Denise and Robert Fortin's cellar, there is a variety of all-purpose products.

Upon entering Sultan, visitors to the Northern Ontario village are invited to use the back door from home if they want access to the general store. A statement that seems straight out of an old American western film, but nevertheless very real since May.

We are trying to help the world, proclaims the co-owner of Sultan's general store, Robert Fortin.

He says that his goal is to exempt a trip to Chapleau, more than 68 kilometers from there for visitors to Wakami Lake Provincial Park, hunters and Sultan's approximately 45 residents.

A community whose majority of them, 25 people, are over 65 years old.

The store's co-owner, Denise, finds that it's not uncommon for seniors to be unable to make the 50-minute drive from Chapleau to Sultan due to road conditions or feel unwell. I'm here to help them out so they can get into town to do their big groceries.

It's special that someone can donate part of their home to help the people of Sultan, says Emma Tucker, a customer.

Michelle Beaudry and Emma Tucker were going to get worms to fish.

Michelle Beaudry, a resident of Sultan saw the void that the closure of the old general store had created during the pandemic.

For two years, we had no store. If you wanted to eat even a chip, you absolutely had to go to Chapleau or the Watershed on the 144.

Above all, Robert and Denise Fortin did not want to compete with the old general store. They waited for the announcement of the retirement of the one who operated it before opening theirs.

La Denise and Robert Fortin's house is now Sultan's general store.

That's why Denise started, says Robert.

Other stars also aligned since Denise found herself at home after the closing of the Chapleau garage where she was an accountant. The couple was also able to slightly transform a room in the basement into a commercial space located in unorganized territory.

In the city, we could never have done that. There are too many permits and laws, concludes Denise, who is happy to serve her community while staying at home.

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