• John Jantak

COVID-19 forces small Rigaud enterprise to shut its doors


Rigaud residents Bertin Savard and his son Jasmin ran the Au Croissant 21 café for almost two years until financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic left them with no choice but to shut down.

A small business in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region has become the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Au Croissant 21 in Rigaud announced it has closed its doors and laid-off its small staff of employees including people with disabilities on September 7.

Bertin and Jasmin Savard, the father and son owners of the enterprise, said they had to take the drastic measure to close their small business venture after their application for financial assistance was rejected by the federal Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

Ineligible for federal relief

Au Croissant 21 was established in November, 2018 at the site of the former Caisse Desjardins de Rigaud on Rue St. Pierre. The small business was still considered to be a start-up and therefore was not eligible to receive financial assistance from the CEBA. Unable to overcome financial difficulties that stemmed from the shutdown because of COVID-19 crisis, they were left with few options.

Despite Bertin’s attempts to alleviate rent expenses and a long analysis of all the possibilities that existed for the reopening of the small independent café, it was decided that the only choice available was to permanently close the enterprise.

According to a press release issued by Bertin and Jasmin, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) conducted recent polls throughout the country and estimated that 158,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada will not survive the current financial crisis. Around 18,000 of these businesses are located in Quebec.

‘Part of this sad statistic’

“We are, unfortunately, part of this sad statistic,” said Bertin. “It is therefore more responsible for us to put an end to our magnificent project for now in order to reduce our financial loss. Our small business has been a huge success for us.”

Au Croissant 21 was in operation for only 22 months, but for Bertin, it was not only an exceptional entrepreneurial adventure, it was also a unique family and human experience. “We were able to receive internship students who live with different disabilities in order to give them an extraordinary work experience,” he said.


The café was owned by Bertin Savard (centre) and his son Jasmin Savard (left) and staffed by barista Anaïs Sabourin accompanied by her dog Mira.

Thankful for support

Bertin extended his thanks to all the customers, especially those in Rigaud who have supported Au Croissant 21 during its short existence. “We want to thank our employees who have put all their love into this company. And a special thank you to Anaïs Sabourin, our exemplary barista assisted by her dog Mira, who knew how to be an outstanding ambassador,” said Bertin.

A special thank you was also extended to Développement Vaudreuil-Soulanges (DEV) for their support throughout the development process and for all the help that was extended by their advisor Noémie Roy. “She has always been there to support us,” said Bertin.

While Au Croissant may have shut its doors, Bertin said the little café has given birth to a new restaurant/bistro in Mont St. Hilaire called Chez Cheval whose owners Patricia Paquin and Louis-François Marcotte hire personnel with autism to assist them. Bertin will also keep the name Croissant 21 just in case the enterprise is able to reopen sometime in the future.

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