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Jessica Chartrand and Wayland McKay are the owners and managers of Big Interlake Mechanical in St. Laurent. Between a tractor repair shop and a well-stocked shop, this family business is the ideal place for anyone who loves nature and recreational activities.
It all started with a desire to leave the city. “We lived in Winnipeg and wanted to move,” says Chartrand. We wanted to raise our son, Oliver, in our own place, away from the city.”
In 2017, the choice was made on St. Laurent, especially for its natural beauty and everything that the local community has to offer. In 2018, Big Interlake Mechanical was born. It was a big career change for Jessica Chartrand, who previously worked in property registration.
Originally, Big Interlake Mechanical started as a tractor repair shop. Quads, tractors, golf carts or boats can be repaired. Since then, as with many other businesses, the pandemic forced Jessica Chartrand and Wayland McKay to innovate. The two entrepreneurs now have a standalone shop where you can buy, among many other things, fishing items.
“We developed our business, adapting it to the pandemic,” shares Jessica Chartrand. We all have experienced life changes lately. If we can help people enjoy activities that make people feel good in addition to promoting tourism in our beautiful region, that’s wonderful. The products are here, people can directly shop with us and go out and enjoy nature and the lakes around us.”
Among the products that Big Interlake Mechanical offers, there are fishing items, but also, recently, outdoor shelters, self-watering planters, as well as camping gear.
“There are new campgrounds in the area,” says Chartrand. We hope to facilitate access to this type of equipment. Sometimes you come here for a weekend, and you realize at the last minute that you forgot something. Or you didn’t plan to stay overnight, and you need equipment to camp. We have a variety of gear available in our shop for all campers. “
During the summer, Jessica Chartrand and Wayland McKay have another employee to help with their business. Otherwise, they run their business together: Wayland McKay takes care of the mechanical repair shop and Jessica Chartrand manages the shop.
Whether your quad needs repairs, or you want to upgrade your camping equipment, all nature lovers will find what they need at Big Interlake Mechanical, which benefits the development of the St. Laurent region.
“I love the sense of community here,” says Jessica Chartrand. Everyone knows each other and talks to each other. And it’s such a beautiful region. There are many green spaces and beaches. We have tourists who come from the United States to our community to enjoy nature, fishing and hunting. It’s good to breathe fresh air here. “
Now that the pandemic is easing, the variety of activities that make St. Laurent an ideal tourist destination can start again. Jessica Chartrand shares some of them with you, hoping to see you soon. “We have our Family Fun Days and also our Oak Point Music Festival. Many things are happening in St. Laurent. Come and visit us!”