Boosting Business & Bolstering Community

In rural Manitoba, history and the future harmoniously meld through a tale of entrepreneurial spirit and community support. This success story was made possible through the Manitoba Métis Federation's (MMF) Métis Employment & Training Department's (MET) Summer Student Employment Program (SSEP).

St. Malo Meats, a long endeared fixture of St. Malo, was sold to new owners Patrick Gosselin and Jesse Lariviere on May 1, 2022. Like many small businesses braving a new venture, this duo faced a string of financial challenges including legal costs and a need for modernizing their business.

This is where the support from Métis Employment & Training's SSEP emerged as a beacon of hope. Gosselin and Lariviere qualified for this program which reimburses wages for hiring summer employees.

"The program's been a blessing," says Gosselin. "We were able to not only hire Meagan, a Métis student for the summertime but also pivot ordinarily wage-designated funds to upgrading the store."

This involved the purchase of new products for the storefront and procuring essential equipment such as an energy-efficient industrial freezer. These upgrades proved beneficial for their business, simultaneously pulling in new customers, increasing revenue, and lowering their carbon footprint.

St. Malo Meats also proved instrumental in providing employment for local Red River Métis Youth. Meagan, who worked with the team over the summer, is commended by the owners for her hardworking nature, efficiency, and determination.

"We're pleased to offer employment opportunities for our local Métis community," says Lariviere. "Having the community's support and benefiting from Meagan's contribution to our team, it's a win-win."

The journey at St. Malo Meats goes to show how programs like SSEP can not only foster economic growth for Red River Métis businesses, but also empower communities with employment and training opportunities, as well as financial support.

Gosselin and Lariviere concluded, "We can't express enough our gratitude towards the MMF for supporting us through this program. The positive impact goes beyond the business, leaving a lasting mark on the community as a whole."

For the MMF and MET, helping local entrepreneurs and small businesses like St. Malo Meats is just another way the Red River Métis achieve self-sufficiency and prosperity.


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