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Deleau General Store - from soup to nuts

The early bird gets the worm in this neck of the woods as Scott Phillips starts the day at his store well before sun-up.

Deleau General Store is a new version of an enterprise that has served Deleau for decades. The store has been closed since 2006, but now there’s a brand-new building and new owners. Proprietor Scott Phillips says his general store is the only such stop on Hwy 2 between Redvers, Saskatchewan and Souris.

“I came up with the idea when the [former] store was still here,” says Phillips. “This is a busy little community.”

The Deleau store provides gas, convenience items including fresh daily baking, plumbing/hardware and an eatery. The 30-seat restaurant has been packed some lunch times.

“Today, it was booming back here,” says Phillips, adding that some 30-35 lunches were served on Tuesday, Aug. 31, and they served even more last Friday. It’s early days, just three weeks into service for the new store.

He sells Esso gas and diesel. “Our gas sales are extremely good.” He says it’s the lowest priced fuel in Westman, the same price as Sioux Valley Petro Canada on Hwy 1.”

Phillips is running the place himself, along with one staff, the cook. Kari Phillips works for Prairie Mountain Health in the Souris office, and helps out after work.

Scott says he’s busy from early morning to closing at 8 p.m.

“Yup, yup, I love it. I’m up at 4:30, here at 5 (a.m.) and open at 6. We have guys here at 5:30… I tell them, ‘boys if [my] truck’s there, the door’s open.”

Located on Hwy 2 just west of Hwy 21 junction, the hamlet of Deleau is a tiny speck on the map, but Phillips points out, there’s new houses and many trades and businesses in the area.

Pristine Deleau park is welcoming for family and community gatherings, with washrooms, a ball diamond, picnic area and play structures. Just a couple of weeks ago the yearly farmers’ market saw about 500 people come and go there.

When lunch time rolls around, there’s a different menu for every day of the week.

The local florist and former Deleau store owner, Denise Robson, cooks and bakes for the new store. Phillips says that’s the reason for the big lunch crowd. “She was the previous owner and that’s the secret ingredient, is Denise’s home cooking.”

Just as ‘shop local’ is one of Scott’s slogans, seen on his front fence bearing signage of local businesses, so home-grown tasty food is one of the foundations for the lunch menu.

“The apple pies are from the apples off our trees. The tomatoes out of our garden, onions… everything is garden fresh. We buy very little from the stores. Pizzas are made from scratch, lasagna is made from scratch. Meatballs, spaghetti, everything is made from scratch.”

Phillips is a councillor for the RM of Sifton. He has worked in the banking business and in construction. Wife Keri says the idea of re-opening the local store, just a few kms from their home was part of the attraction for them.

Scott likes the buzz of traffic and the variety of people who come to his establishment.

“It’s good cuz there’s a lot of guys up this way that I haven’t seen in years, that I played ball against, used to chum around with.”

As of Sept. 3, in line with the provincial mandate, the restaurant will only be open to seat those who provide evidence of full vaccination, but takeout is available.