Bonneau Lucien (1913-1994)*ref.130

Photo Lucien Bonneau

Born in :

Died in :

Father name :

Mother name : Langlois Delima

Profession :   Owner of Bonneau's Supermarket

Hiswife: BourgoinMary Rose Bibiane (1912-2008)


: July 8th, 1935

Children :

Bonneau Bertrand Roger ( -1964)

Bonneau Maurice Raymond

Bonneau Colette Sylvia (1943- )

Little story from is daughter Colette Bonneau LeClair

Lucien Jean-Baptiste Bonneau is the fourth child born to Joseph Hubert Bonneau and Delima Langlois Bonneau on March 21, 1913 in Ste. Narcisse de L'eau Biniere, Quebec, Canada.

Lucien's family moved to Lewiston, Maine in the mid 1920's when Lucien was in his mid teens. Lucien worked in a local shoe shop where he met his future wife, Bibiane Mary Rose Bourgoin and went to night school to receive his 8th grade graduation degree. He then took a position in a local grocery store and learned his life long trade of meat cutting.

Lucien and Bibiane married on July 8, 1935 and had 3 children. Bertrand Roger, March 31, 1936, Maurice Raymond, February 23, 1938 and Colette Sylvia, July 13, 1943.

Lucien's brother, Victor, delivered milk at the 248 Blake Street store in Lewiston that a Mrs. Gagne owned. In conversation she told him that their business was for sale. Victor then approached Lucien, who was a meat cutter, about purchasing the business. Circa 1933 they established a partnership that was partially financed by their father, Joseph. Subsequently, they purchased the building which housed the store from Ernest Paradis. The financial arrangement was that Mr. Paradis would get his groceries from the store as payment.

The first few years were difficult as our nation was recovering from the great depression and learning from trial and error how to run a business. Their small grocery store was opened 7 days a week and Lucien and Victor alternated taking Sundays off. By the end of WWII the business had greatly improved and the 3 younger brothers, Armand, Euclide, and Edgar had returned from the war and joined the business. Circa 1948 the five brothers built a larger store in the same neighborhood on Blake Street. Bonneau's Market became well known and business kept increasing. It was during these years (circa 1940's) that Lucien and Victor purchased an eight family apartment building at 496 Sabattus Street, Lewiston. By the time Victor was in his mid forties he passed away, leaving a wife and 5 children, he never got to see the building of the 3rd store.

Circa 1955 the four remaining brothers, Lucien, Armand, Euclide, and Edgar agreed to buy land on upper Lisbon Street in Lewiston and build a larger store with a post office on their property for the growing area. Business kept increasing and circa 1969 the brothers built yet a larger store on the same property and subdivided store #3 into two commercial rental units. The property was now known as "Bonneau's Plaza''. The slogan for the Super Market was 

"Never a Bum Steer'',because they were well known for their high quality meat. Lucien and his son, Maurice, were the heads of the meat department. They both worked long hours to maintain the quality and cleanliness of their department. Lucien's oldest son, Bertrand, was the head of the business office until his untimely death at the age of 27. Maurice eventually purchased the business and Lucien continued to work part time well into his retirement years. After a short illness, he quietly passed away in his home on February 25, 1994 at the age of 80. His wife, Bibiane lived to be 95 and passed away on February 25, 2008. He passed away at 8:00 o'clock in the morning and Bibiane passed away at 8:00 o'clock in the evening exactly 14 years later.


It would be hard to find a business more ‘family-run’ than Bonneau’s markets. Two brothers, Victor (24) and Lucien (20), opened a 500 ft. grocery store on Blake Street in Lewiston in 1934. By 1946, despite the Great Depression, the business had grown to the extent that they could employ their three younger brothers, and move to a larger store. A second, out-of-town ‘master market’ opened, in 1954, and itself moved to a larger location in 1969.

The family success story is all the more remarkable considering that their father, Joseph Bonneau moved to Lewiston from Québec in the 1930s, after the death of his wife, and raised eight children alone on a mill-worker’s salary.

When brothers Armand, Edgar and Euclide returned from serving in the Second World War, Lucien and Victor took them on as partners, and the business expanded with construction of a state-of-the-art ‘super market’. Not only did the store’s size (a 400ft frontage), layout and location (on the corner of Lisbon St and South Avenue) adapt to the changing needs of their customers, but it boasted many other innovations. ‘It’s like magic!’, proclaimed the Lewiston Daily Sun of the Master Market’s automatic entrance doors, and features which we now take for granted, such as air conditioning, music and a courtesy telephone, were all touted at the grand opening in 1954.

Despite all this technology, the Bonneau’s believed that personal attention was the secret to their success, and they remained active on the shop floor even as the business expanded. Although the Lisbon Street store was one of the first the feature a self-service meat counter, Lucien Bonneau was often onhand to offer advice to customers.

Picture of Lucien Bonneau et BibianeBourgoin in 1935

Picture of the first Bonneaus store

Picture of the 2nd Bonneau’s Store

Picture of the 3rd Bonneaus store

Picture of the 4st Bonneau’s store in 1969

A special thank you to Colette Bonneau Leclair for all of those beautiful picture. A real treasure.

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