Come in! We welcome you to a virtual visit of the Arthur Quentin store.
Maryse Cantin quits her steady government job. She buys a little house on St. Denis Street, right in between a small church and an X-rated movie theatre. And in December, just a few days before Christmas, Arthur Quentin is born.
Initially, the store offered a mix of second-hand and new products. Maryse enjoyed the challenge of rummaging through the back stock of import houses to unearth objects that were otherwise impossible to find in Montreal, yet had undeniable style. These finds were emblematic of Arthur Quentin's early years: café au lait bowls, 1900's lamps with glass shades, lace curtains, and the like. Each one so successful that they built the reputation of Arthur Quentin. Then, slowly but surely, the antiques were swallowed up by the imported products…
The Arthur Quentin store has been gaining in renown for four years now. Almost directly across the street, an old-fashioned snack-bar has Maryse fascinated. And that's all it takes for the next step of the adventure to begin- it's the perfect setting for a household linens boutique!
Initially, the whole endeavour seems fraught with uncertainty. For example, Maryse stubbornly insists on a return to cotton, while the suppliers counsel against it…
Maryse is the first to admit it: this new dream was not as immediately successful as she had hoped. Seeing her Arthur Quentin clients pass right by the Blue Nuit store window, without even giving it a second look, certainly had her wondering. But she refused to doubt herself. And in the end, after three years, Bleu Nuit came into it's own.
The house next door is for sale? It's a bargain for Maryse, who has been dreaming about opening a store dedicated to cooking supplies! Seeing the force of today's foodie culture in Quebec, it seems positively prophetic. But the first Christmas was a disaster, the recipe for success was somehow missing…
Maryse doesn't give up, though. She decides to open up the dividing wall between the two stores and the impact is immediate. With the dining table on one side and the kitchen on the other, a concept comes to life.
It started out as a repair shop, a space for restoring old furniture and rewiring European lamps for a North American market. But the St. André Street location soon became a perfect place to liquidate Blue Nuit's unsold inventory. As a result of the many different sizes of sheets and pillowcases one must stock, there are always lots of leftovers…
TAlso, Maryse is always looking for a bargain, and her team constantly searches out discontinued lines from their manufacturers. That's how sheets, towels, and comforter covers come to rub shoulders with plates, teapots and flowerpots at L'Atelier- and all at discount prices!
Next door to the Arthur Quentin shops, another house is for sale, the third house. Like completing a set in Monopoly- the purchase is irresistible. Maryse buys it as a venue for something slightly different- accessories. Related to the world of fashion, and yet timeless, and outside of the whims of the season. The regular clientele is a bit put off at first, but- oh, look how pretty!
And so, the concept behind each store crystallizes : the table, the kitchen, and the accessory.
In a strategic move to focus on her primary business activity, Maryse Cantin decides to close The Blue Nuit boutique. But the demand for lovely linens remains, and so a part of the Arthur Quentin stores are now dedicated to this endeavour.
The new label bears the name Quentin Nuit.
In a continued effort to refocus on the core business activity, Maryse Cantin decides to close l'Atelier. This unpresumptious locale has by now become more than simply a store- it's a community. L'Atelier had it's own special vibe, it's own magic, thanks to the people who worked there with such generosity and pleasure.
Over the years, Maryse Cantin transformed Arthur Quentin into a true brand name, a banner of harmony and good taste. But this dream world would never have endured had it not been supported by a strong business sense. This strength is based on the great care taken when selecting product lines, and the continued importance of welcoming and servicing our clients- of being at your service!
Maybe that's why Arthur Quentin has been brightening St Denis Street for over 40 years now!