Mr. Rioux had the foresight to ask the occupants of 420 Notre Dame if they would sell their building as Mr. Rioux wished to preserve the history of America's credit union movement. But the occupants of 420 Notre Dame were not interested in selling.
They donated the building instead.
In 1994, Armand and Joanne Lemire donated their building at 420 Notre Dame to America's Credit Union Museum Foundation with the intent to see the building used as a museum to capture the history of cooperative credit in America and to educate the future of credit unions.
We asked our board member, Peter Lemire, Esq., the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lemire for his reflections on the exchange:
Armand R. (1935-2003) and Joanne J. Lemire (1936-2006), parents of Michael, Dennis, David, Kevin, and Peter, purchased the buildings of 418-420 Notre Dame Avenue in Manchester, NH on January 10th, 1986.
Armand and Joanne were very proud of their French-Canadian heritage and grew up in Manchester, NH, on the West Side, and East Side (of the Merrimack River) respectively.
Both of my parents grew up speaking French as their first language in the household and only learned English as they reached Grammar school age.
Early on in their early teenage years, both of my parents worked in the very textile mills where the immigrant members of La Caisse Populaire Ste. Marie labored to give their families a brighter future.
Among the mills where my parents worked were Pandora, Waumbec, and Manchester Knitting Mills. Armand became proficient in the mixing of dyestuffs for textiles and became a colorist/dyer.
As a result of their experience in the many years laboring in the mills, Armand and Joanne founded their own dyestuff and chemical company, Colonial Color and Chemical Company (solely for textiles) in the early 1980s and grew it into a very successful venture until the winds of manufacturing in America turned southward and abroad in the mid to late 1990s.
During the heyday of Colonial Color, they purchased the 418-420 Notre Dame property (along with the adjacent Amory Street building) on January 10th, 1986.
During their stewardship of the buildings, it housed the family business (Colonial Color), in addition to a beauty salon, and also was the residence of Armands' mother (Alberta) in her later years, as well as sons David and Michael.
Armand and Joanne were very proud of their French Canadian heritage, as well as their hometown of Manchester, and with a distinct knowledge of the historical significance of these buildings, decided to donate them unselfishly in the name of historical preservation and the legacy of the credit union movement in America on October 20th, 1994.