‘Connecting people’: Chit-Chat Convenience brings long-awaited store, community gathering place to Lyn

Pictured is Chit-Chat Convenience, located at 25 Main Street East in Lyn Ontario. – Seth Leroux photo

It’s been about a year now since Kristine, and Jean-Eric Gibeau broke ground on Lyn’s Chit-Chat Convenience Store, bringing a long-awaited convenience store to the village.

If you head eight kilometres west of Brockville, you will find yourself in the village of Lyn. Now with a population of approximately 445 people, Lyn was established in 1784 by an American named Able Coleman.

At one point, the village saw an economic boom, and was known to be busier than its neighbouring city of Brockville. Eventually, with the onslaught of electrical advances, Lyn soon became a quiet village with little to offer its residents in the way of shopping.

Today, Chit-Chat Convenience replaces what was once only village’s only store, and residents are thrilled.

“When we built the building and were thinking about who would rent the downstairs portion, we thought, wouldn’t it be cool if someone opened a convenience store?” stated Kristine Gibeau excitedly. “Then we thought, why can’t we do it?”

And so began the journey to what is now the known as the ‘place to be’ in Lyn.

Long-time area resident and former school board educational assistant, Kristine originally intended to build an office space for her and husband Jean-Eric’s construction business.

The idea for the convenience store soon followed.

On the outside, you’ll find a well-lit and beautiful grey building. Its clean and organized interior gives way to a very pleasurable and organized shopping experience for the residents of Lyn or passersby. From chocolate bars to dairy stock – they have everything one could need in a pinch, without having to leave the village.

Chit-Chat also serves fresh, hand-made pizza and calzones in a variety of flavours ranging from plain cheese to Greek. In the summer, they plan to host eaters at an out-front patio, as well as gazebos in the back. Ice cream and a hot dog cart are also planned.

“The Chit-Chat Special” pizza is one of many offerings available from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily except Sunday. – Seth Leroux photo

Staff from local farm Burnbrae are regular patrons excited to see a place to get a hot meal on their work breaks.

Kristine says “connecting people” is the best part of the business.

About 140 people came out for a recent Christmas tree lighting; Kristine notes it was special to see how many not only made new connections, but also reconnected with old acquaintances and friends following COVID and the closure of the former village store.

“Business is thriving, and the community support has been amazing”, she says.

The Gibeaus are currently working toward getting a license from the LCBO, and they are excited to soon offer a full-service store to their community. “We’ve had a lot of requests for LCBO,” Kristine states, adding that they also have a lottery station.

All four staff members are either from or currently reside in the village, which the Gibeaus point to as a sign of the pride they take in their community, as well as an economic boost for the area.

If the store’s Facebook page is any indication, the community is eager to support the business.

“Just ordered our first Chit-Chat Convenience pizza and we were really impressed! It’s so nice to get home with a still hot pizza,” Sarah Penpraze wrote on Chit-Chat’s public Facebook page. “The sauce is flavourful and the sprinkling of cheese is very generous! Thank you so much for making this possible in our community! 😊”

The Chit-Chat Convenience is open Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They have available pizza hours, and source as many ingredients and sales goods locally as possible.

They are located at 25 Main St E, Lyn.

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