The Bonneau family came to the Twin Cities after the eldest brother, Donat, arrived and found work at F. X. Marcotte’s store on Lincoln Street. Donat encouraged his brothers to move to Lewiston-Auburn. This is what is known as a “chain migration,” when family members immigrate after their relatives. Family relationships were important to the Bonneaus, as was demonstrated by continued mentoring across generations in their extended family. When Arthur Bonneau died prematurely, Donat took his son Paul under his wing at F. X. Marcotte, and Paul, in turn, recruited his nephew Mike.
Bonneau brothers Victor and Lucien, along with their father, Joseph, founded Bonneau Market on French-speaking Blake Street in 1942. Eventually, the store expanded to Lisbon Street. Bonneau Market was a popular local grocery from its inception in 1942 until it closed in 1985. The importance of the business is evident in the attendance at their 35th anniversary celebration in 1965. Like other Franco-American entrepreneurs, the Bonneau family gave back to the community in other ways as well, notably through Murphy homes.
Just as the family had come to Lewiston-Auburn in a migratory chain, the brothers moved to new parishes farther from the city center, especially Holy Family parish, as a family group.
2020.FIC.3: Interior of F.X. Marcotte’s store, late 19th, early 20th century
François Xavier Marcotte, known as F.X., was a former mill worker and one of the earliest Franco-American entrepreneurs in Lewiston-Auburn. Although he had no children, he served as an important mentor to other Franco-Americans, including Donat Bonneau, the eldest of the Bonneau children. Donat and his brother Arthur eventually became partners in Marcotte’s business. Though F.X. Marcotte is now a furniture store, in the early days of the business they sold everything from stoves to baby carriages, as seen in this image.
2019.040.16: Joseph and Emma Bonneau in St. Narcisse, P.Q., undated
Joseph Hubert and Emma Langlois Bonneau were the parents of the founders of Bonneau Market.
2019.040.17: The Bonneau family ancestral home in St. Narcisse, P.Q., 1905.
2019.040.21: Euclide and Edgar’s Apartment Building, c. 1943
Euclide Bonneau, posing, circa 1943, outside of the apartment building he and his brother Edgar would later come to own. While some Franco-Americans stayed in one parish for generations like the Lepages in St. Louis, the move of many members of the Bonneau family to the Ste Famille/Holy Family parish was a kind of chain migration not unlike their original migration from Québec.
2019.040.11: Lisbon St. Store Groundbreaking, 1953
Groundbreaking on the Lisbon St. Store located at 1025 Lisbon St. in Lewiston. Image shows, left to right: Donat, Arthur, Victor, Lucien, (unknown), Edgar, Armand, Euclide.
2019.040.15: Sign for Bonneau Market Lisbon Street Store, 1954
2019.040.14: “It’s Like Magic! You Just Step onto Mat and Door Opens So You Can Leave,” Lewiston Daily Sun and Lewiston Evening Journal, December 7, 1954
This article details the new automatic door at the recently opened Bonneau Market store on Lisbon Street. It wasn’t the first automatic door in town, but it was the first that operated as it did: stepping on the mat triggered a hydraulic system that opened the door.
2019.040.19: Bonneau sibling photo at Leona Bonneau and Antonio Parent’s wedding, May 30, 1955
The Bonneau siblings, left to right: Donat, Arthur, Victor, Lucien, Cecile, Noema, Armand, Euclide, Edgar and Leona. Donat and Arthur Bonneau worked at F.X. Marcotte, and Victor, Lucien, Armand, Euclide, Edgar and Leona worked at the market.
2019.040.12: “Family Stores are Big Business, Too,” Progressive Grocer Magazine, 1956
This article discusses the value of family run businesses, as represented by Bonneau Market. Many Bonneau family members are pictured working at the market. According to the article: Edgar worked as the produce and non-food buyer, Lucien as supervisor of meat operation, Victor as general manager, Armand as grocery buyer, Leona as front end supervisor at the smaller store, and Euclide as the manager of the smaller store.
2019.040.23: Skating at the Bonneau Market 35th anniversary, March 1965
On the 35th anniversary of the beginning of the Bonneau Market business, the Bonneau brothers wanted to celebrate with the community that made them successful. They threw a party atthe Central Maine Youth Center, now known as the Androscoggin Colisee, and provided free food, door prizes, and, of course, skating.
2019.040.20: Bonneau Market Advertisement, Lewiston Sun-Journal, March 11 & 12, 1969
Advertisements promoting new innovations at Bonneau Market. Featured are visa-matic shopping carts, taller and wider than traditional carts, and conveyor belt check out, making the customer’s experience easier and more streamlined than ever.
2019.040.22: Jean Street sign image, photographed by Diane Bonneau, 2019
Jean Street in Lewiston was named for John (Jean) Bonneau. Victor Bonneau, John’s father, and Charles Bellgarde owned the land the street was later put on and the street was consequently named after Victor’s son. Lucien and Arthur Bonneau, Victor’s brothers and John’s uncles, built homes on Jean Street as well.