ORLEANS, VT - Desmarais Equipment of Orleans is closing its doors after 49 years.
Brothers Rene and Roger Desmarais owned the farm equipment and power sports store and are now ready to retire. The business was opened by their father Rio Desmarais in 1963. Rio Desmarais had been a farmer and then went to work at farm equipment stores. He developed a dream to open his own store. The place that has housed Desmarais for all these years became available and Rio Desmarais fulfilled his dream.
His son Roger was just out of high school at the time and went to work with his father. Rene was a senior in high school and went to work at the store right after he finished school. The two brothers bought out their father in 1974 and ran the business successfully through the years.
At first Desmarais Equipment sold farm equipment. Then, following demand and trends, snowmobiles and other recreational equipment were added. The business evolved to about 20 percent going toward farm equipment and the remaining going to power sports, including snowmobiles, ATV’s, and weekend farm equipment.
Now the men are 65 and 66 and ready to add some leisure time to their lives and pursue other interests.
Rene Desmarais had his eye on retiring the last couple of years and wants to enjoy his “golden years and work on his bucket list,” he said with a laugh.
Roger doesn’t feel quite the same way. He was hoping to make it 50 years in business, but the opportunity to sell presented itself and they took it.
Champlain Valley Equipment, with a store in Derby, bought the business and moved the equipment to its Derby location. The Desmaraises still own the property and plan to rent or sell the building.
Roger is going to work for Champlain Equipment and he feels it will be less stressful than owning his own business. He could have bought out Rene’s half but did not want the responsibility of full ownership.
“We are moving on,” Roger said.