Family friends and specially invited guests gathered at La Toc on July 9th to celebrate a special milestone with business pioneer Arnott F. Valmont.
He was celebrating his 100 birthday.
Arnott François Valmont was born in Vieux-Fort on July 9th 1920 to William and Vanessa Valmont (nee Desmangles).
Arnott’s early education started at the Vieux-Fort Roman Catholic Boys’ School. At fourteen, following his father’s death from pneumonia, Arnott relocated to Castries to live with his cousin J. Q. Charles another pioneer in business.
His schooling continued at the Castries Intermediate School and then the Union Agricultural College in the 1940s. Ironically, Arnott’s working life started as a clerk at J.Q. Charles Ltd.
However, following his time at the Union Agricultural College, he returned to Vieux-Fort and took up employment as head native timekeeper at the American Forces Army Base at Beanefield. In 1942, Arnott married Olive Edwards, his lifelong companion and business partner.
The post-World War II depression however pushed him and his peers — John Compton and George Mallet and other young men of that era — to emigrate to Curacao to work in the oil industry to earn a living during in the 1940s.
On his return home, he worked with Balboa Edwards and Company, a local merchant company — and his wife’s family business. He took correspondence courses with Wolsey Hall, London, England, eventually earning a diploma in Accountancy.
In 1951, Arnott and Olive Valmont opened a nightclub and then a dry goods shop at the corner of Laborie and Victoria Street in Castries.. Later in the 1950s, the Valmont’s gradually expanded into haberdashery, clothing and accessories, cosmetics, house-ware, furniture, and hardware items.
In the 1960s they legally incorporated the company and opened branches in rented premises in Vieux-Fort and Micoud. They further expanded with construction and building materials. Arnott recalls 1950 as the year he purchased his first car to became the nineteenth car-owner in Saint Lucia.
In the 1980s the Valmont’s acquired the Vieux-Fort and Soufriere retail branches of M&C, whilst J. Q. bought the M&C building on Bridge Street in Castries.
Arnott Valmont was a founding member of the St. Lucia Yacht Club, the Rotary Club, the La Clery Club and the Stevedores Association. He was also a member of the illustrious Castries City Club. He served with distinction as a member of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture and was President for two terms during the 1970s.
SOURCE ICONIC SAINT LUCIANS