8:30 a.m., Dec. 13)
Source for Sports celebrates 40 years in business
It's been 40 years since André Lacroix
first opened Lacrox-Roy Sports with his friend
Denis Roy in a small basement on St-Joseph
Blvd. Today Lacroix Source for Sports is a
local institution. Fred Sherwin/Photo
André Lacroix first got into the sporting goods
business with his friend Denis Roy in 1972, the population
of Orléans was less than 6,000 people. There was
no soccer or football or even baseball, just a handful
of minor hockey teams.
the first two years, he and his life-long operated the
business out of a small basement on St, Joseph Blvd.
were the only business in town. You didn't have any of
the big box stores like you have today," recalls
the years, Lacroix Source for Sports has become a local
institution. Young mothers and fathers are still taking
their kids to the St. Joseph Blvd. store for their first
pair of skates or a new hockey stick.
unlike 40 years ago when the focus was purely on hockey,
Lacroix now serves a new generation of customers involved
in everything from ultimate frisbee and soccer to curling
and golf and everything in between.
celebrating the store's 40th anniversary, Lacroix can
understandably look back with pride on what he has been
able to accomplish with the help of his dedicated staff.
native of Embrun, Lacroix dropped out of school in Grade
9 to work full-time at his uncle's convenience store in
what was then the parish of Orléans..
hours were long and gruelling especially for a 15-year-old
-- 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.
day after I turned 19, I read an ad in Le Droit where
Zellers were looking for new managers. Ì told my
uncle I had to go for a check-up at the doctor, but I
went to the Zellers in Hull. So the guy who interviewed
me said, 'Okay you can start on Tuesday'. I said are you
kidding, I still have to tell my uncle. That was the worse
moment of my life having to tell my uncle," says
Lacroix, who went to live with the Roy family in a house
on St-Joseph soon after.
started in the hardware department and I didn't know anything.
I had to mix paint and this and that, and I did good.
Then I went to help open the new Zellers in Pointe Gatineau
where they made me manager of the hardware department
and the sporting goods department.'
this time, Lacroix had been living with Denis Roy and
his family for a couple of years. By 1972, Lacroix was
a rising star with Zellers. Just 23 years old he had helped
open stores in St. Jerome and Val d'Or. Then the manager
at the store in Pointe Gatineau wanted him to move to
Drummondville and open a new store there, but Lacroix
had other plans
went to Denis and said let's start a sports store in Orléans.
At first he thought I was joking, but we went to the Caisse
Populaire and they gave us a loan for $5,000. It was actually
Réal Marcil who approved the loan. He ended up
working for me for 30 years," says Lacroix.
and Roy rented out a small basement below the Pinto Julie
convenience store on St-Joseph Blvd.
guy who owned the place said we didn't have to pay rent
for 18 months, but we had to finish the inside. So we
used some of the money to finish the small basement and
we spent $2,000 on merchandise.
first clients were Orléans Minor Hockey and Queenswood
Minor Hockey. After working in the depanneur for so many
years I was well known, and Denis was well known as an
1976, Lacroix bought out Roy, who went on to have a successful
career with Sun Life, and moved the business to a house
down the road. In 1979 he expanded again.
Tourangeau and another guy had the land behind me, so
they wanted to buy my place and build the first strip
mall in Orléans. I rented there for four years
until I moved to where the store is now 25 years ago."
business has withstood the passing of time and the advent
of big box store competitors like Sport Chek and Sports
Experts, thanks to a loyal clientele and their equally
grown with the community. We're selling equip.m.ent to the
grandchildren of the people who were coming here to buy
stuff for their kids when we first opened," says
Lacroix, whose generosity in giving back to the community
has become legendary.
has raised over $1 million for a variety of charities
mainly through his golf tournament which he started 37
years ago. The beneficiaries have ranged from individuals
in need of a helping hand, to large projects such as the
recent Orléans Y expansion.
and semi-retired, Lacroix isn't ready to hand over the
keys to the store just yet. After battling cancer in 2001,
he stopped working nights and weekends and now only works
mornings, unless he has a golf game booked.
if he had any advice for the future generation of entrepreneurs,
Lacroix said the key to success is the public you serve.
have to be involved in the community from day one,"
says Lacroix, who knows better than anyone the rewards
one can receive by giving back. "You have to be involved
and support your community."
Lacroix has practiced what he's preached for the past
40 years and is still going strong.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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