Owners heartbroken as 76-year-old Mattawa chip stand forced to close
NORTH BAY -- A multigenerational Mattawa chip stand that has been open for 76 years is being forced to close its doors because it does not meet new fire code regulations.
Turcotte's Chip Stand has been passed down over the years within the Turcotte family. Current owner Danny Jr. is devastated.
"It's part of the community and people have grown up here and their parents and grandparents have grown up here with it," he said, while standing outside the shack.
The shack is located on Main Street in Mattawa. The historic fast food joint opened in 1944 by Turcotte's grandmother. From there, his mother inherited it and fired up the fryers for 36 years before passing it onto Danny in 2014.
"My grandmother and grandfather got it in Quebec and drove it all the way to Mattawa to across the street," said Turcotte. "It's moved a couple of times. When I was a kid, I grew up in the chip stand."
The shack is too small to handle equipment upgrades to meet new fire code regulations, so it had to close. The chip stand was run by Turcotte and his wife. It was their main source of income.
Not giving up yet
Mattawa's town council said it is doing everything it can to keep the chip stand alive.
"It's part of our fabric in our community," said Mayor Dean Backer. "Our municipality and council will do everything possible to accommodate them."
The town isn't giving up without a fight. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family in helping them look for a new chip stand. Turcotte has received hundreds of messages of support and donations to purchase a new chip stand from people all over northern Ontario.
"We've got three generations of my family who have been going to this chip stand. It'll be a shame if it goes away," said chip stand supporter Elisa Char Guilbeault.
"There was always a smile as kids came at lunch time from school. It was good," said chip stand supporter Michael Petten.
“It would be great of we could save them,” said chip stand supporter Pierre Ranger. “I used to come here all the time. I came here to eat with my parents and during high school for lunch.”
Turcotte said if he can purchase a new stand, he will have to find a new location, because it will too big to fit at the current spot on Main Street.
The family is hoping the fryers will be turned on later again this season, if they can find a new chip stand.
“Reading all the stories and all the comments of how people have these memories and what it means to them is the main reason we want to keep it going," said Turcotte.