Aubainerie store in Ontario (detail), 2018 © JNC 1944 inc. Photo courtesy of Aubainerie
L’Aubainerie is a chain of clothing stores for men, women, and children with a reputation for very affordable prices. Its story began in 1944 in La Tuque, a town in the Mauricie region, when Jean-Noël Croteau founded his first store, called L’Économie. His four brothers and a sister—Paul, Charles, Maurice, Alex and Bibianne—each helped the business expand by opening additional stores under the Croteau name.
The chain soon spread throughout Quebec, offering customers a high volume of inventory, replenished weekly, and low prices thanks to the combined purchasing power of the various stores.
Many of the six founders’ 29 children joined the company, multiplying the number of Croteau stores across the province.
In 1997, the company adopted a new fashion-forward concept that maintained its low prices and changed its name to l’Aubainerie.
L’Aubainerie is known for collaborating with Quebec celebrities on the design of capsule collections. TV host Véronique Cloutier, designer Jean Airoldi and Olympic athlete Bruny Surin have all come out with eponymous clothing and accessories collections sold at l’Aubainerie.
As of 2018, the retailer has 57 stores in Quebec, one in New Brunswick, one in Ontario under the name AUB44 by Aubainerie, and plans to expand further into the Maritimes. Its head office is located in the Montreal borough of Anjou. According to newspaper Les Affaires, l’Aubainerie ranks 59th on the list of Quebec’s 500 largest companies.
Founding members of Aubainerie in front of Economie store, 1944 © JNC 1944 inc. Photo courtesy of L'Aubainerie
First store before Croteau banner © JNC 1944 inc. Photo courtesy of Aubainerie
Aubainerie store, 2018 © JNC 1944 inc. Photo courtesy of Aubainerie
Aubainerie store in Ontario, 2018 © JNC 1944 inc. Photo courtesy of Aubainerie
Jolicoeur, Martin. “Aubainerie poursuit sa croissance das les Maritimes.” Les affaires, TC Media, 10 mai 2018, https://www.lesaffaires.com/secteurs-d-activite/commerce-de-detail/aubainerie-poursuit-sa-croissance-dans-les-maritimes/602601.
© McCord Museum 2019