Mike Dean in 1976
Mike Dean (left) is shown in this photograph, taken when he became the new owner of the grocery store in Chesterville in the spring of 1976. He was welcomed by former owners George and Adele LaFlamme. File photo
CHESTERVILLE – Michael (Mike) Alan Dean passed away peacefully at the Garden Villa on Fri., July 28, after a long battle with liver disease and cancer. His obituary said he died surrounded by his family, and that he “will be remembered as a businessman who from humble beginnings always worked hard and was well known across the grocery industry as a lifelong independent grocer.”
Dean purchased George LaFlamme’s grocery store on King St. in Chesterville in May of 1976. His wife Nancy McMillan of Grantley joined the operation when they married in July of 1979. As the business grew so did the family. Children Gordon and Julie worked in the store from a young age, and stayed involved in daily operations. Over time the business expanded into a chain, which at its peak had six stores. Mike Dean’s Super Food Stores operated in Chesterville, Winchester, Sharbot Lake, Bourget, Vankleek Hill, and Almonte. Some stores were sold recently including the Vankleek Hill location which was sold to Sobey’s in 2015, and a large new flagship store which opened in Winchester a few years ago and was purchased by Sobey’s last year as part of a corporate restructuring. The Dean family has retained ownership of the Chesterville, Sharbot Lake and Bourget locations.
Besides providing much appreciated access to good grocery stores, in over 40 years the business has hired hundreds of local workers, and provided a retail anchor in six towns. Dean is also remembered as a supporter of the community in other ways. He was a member of the Chesterville Rotary Club since 1977, sponsored organizations, gave space for clubs to sell tickets in his stores, and often supplied food donations to fundraisers. When the Green Box program which provides reasonably priced food to low income families started, he was a strong supporter. Mike Dean’s Super Food Stores is now the main supplier of seven out of the nine programs in Stormont Dundas Glengarry and Prescott-Russell which provide numerous boxes per month to the community. The produce is sold at cost for the programs; the store makes no profit from the sales. In some instances, Mike Dean’s even provided transportation for the produce free of charge.
Dean leaves behind to mourn his wife Nancy, two children Gordon (Pamela) and Julie (Daniel), five grandchildren and four siblings. The wake is today, Wed., Aug. 2, at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Chesterville from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The funeral service will be at Christ Church United in Chesterville on Thurs., Aug. 3 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Chesterville Waterfront Beautification Project would be appreciated by the family. Online condolences may be made at marsdenmclaughlin.com.