Fernand Jourdenais opens a cheese shop in Montréal’s Atwater Market where he sells honey, eggs, raw leaf tobacco and... Cheddar. After spending many a summer helping his father at the Market, in 1983 Gilles takes over the business, which will become Fromagerie du Marché Atwater.
After five years at La Fromagerie with Louis Aird, Alain Besré joins Fromagerie Atwater as its sixth full-time employee. The Market undergoes major renovations and Gilles Jourdenais buys three adjacent shops in order to expand. Artisanal cheeses from Québec are introduced, and Fromagerie Atwater, already considered a Montréal institution, gets deeply involved in promoting this sector.
Several tragic events mark these years, including the 1998 Ice Stom and the Atwater Market fire of December 2002. Gilles Jourdenais entrusts Alain Besré with the development of a distribution division; Fromagerie Atwater Distribution begins with $98,000 in annual sales in 1998. The bet pays off, and distribution grows at an astonishing rate. Forays are made in the Ontario and Western Canadian markets.
The Atwater Market facility having become cramped, Fromagerie Atwater Distribution becomes a separate entity from Fromagerie Atwater détaillant and leases 7,000 square feet in Le Nordelec building in Pointe-Saint-Charles. Seven employees leave the Atwater Market. The year 2008 is marked by the economic crisis and the Listeria crisis. The market literally collapses.
Fromagerie Atwater distribution changes its name to Aux Terroirs in 2010 to distance itself from its retailer image.
Laiterie Charlevoix de Baie-Saint-Paul purchases Aux Terroirs, its main distributor; it’s the first time in Québec where a cheesemaker operates its own distribution company. The business now employs about 15 people. Aux Terroirs expands its network, mainly in the Québec City area, where the company has a warehouse and a retail business.
Aux Terroirs now has over 500 clients and is setting its sights on the American market. In 2018 the company moved to more suitable premises on Saint-Ambroise Street, near the Atwater Market, where it all began.