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Cyndie Lanteigne on running a family business

Posted on Tuesday June 28, 2022


Cyndie Lanteigne on running a family business

Our series on women entrepreneurs profiles exceptional women in New Brunswick who are having a positive impact in the community. Read on to discover their inspiring stories!

Cyndie Lanteigne was still a kid when her parents started Lanteigne Sports, and only 19 when she started at the family business. Almost 30 years later, she’s taken over the reins, and business is booming. What’s her secret to success? Total dedication—work always comes first.

Employee to owner

Cyndie Lanteigne’s parents started Lanteigne Sports in the 1970s when she was a child. When they hired her on, she discovered a knack for numbers. There were only about 5 employees, so everyone had to do a little bit of everything. “My mom taught me how to do the bookkeeping for the store. It was all done by hand! That’s how I got my start.”

When her father decided to retire, she took over the business with her brother. “Our parents left us the store,” she said. “Then my brother gradually sold me his shares. I’ve been the sole owner for 10 years now.”

A woman entrepreneur in ATV salesCyndie Lanteigne

The company operates in a male-dominated industry. “When I started working for my parents, you’d never see a woman buying an all-terrain vehicle,” Lanteigne said. “Now it’s more common. I’d buy one myself if I had more time! I love snowmobiles and jet skis, but I’m just too busy with work. I’m a like a cobbler with broken shoes!”

Customers are often surprised when they ask to speak to the boss and she says it’s her. “Sometimes they insist on talking to Mr. Lanteigne. I tell them there’s no Mr. Lanteigne and I, Ms. Lanteigne, am the owner. There’s no ill will, they just have a preconceived notion that the company must be run by a man.”

The key to success: Time, time and more time

Lanteigne isn’t shy about the fact that she’s a workaholic. From her perspective, time is the magic ingredient that makes her business successful. “You just have to be there. I work 6 days a week, and this spring I took my first week off in over 2 years. It’s not a sacrifice. I really like working—it’s fun. I’m definitely not cut out to be a housewife. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be at it until I’m 70,” she said.

The second magic ingredient is perseverance. “You can never give up. Every problem has a solution. Communication is often the key. Don’t be afraid to talk things through.”

Work-life balance

Her total commitment to her business posed some challenges when it came to raising her daughter. “I have a daughter and she didn’t see much of her parents in the first 10 years of her life. We always had a nanny. I would leave early and come back after she was asleep. It would have been impossible for me to have 3 kids with my career. It was a choice and I have no regrets whatsoever. My business is like a second child.”

She believes that there are many different ways to be a mother and the important thing is doing what you believe is best for yourself. “Women like me who invest in their careers aren’t bad mothers. My daughter has never resented me for not being there. Now she’s 21 years old and we have a fantastic relationship.”

Expansion and sales boom

The world of outdoor recreation is constantly changing. Lanteigne Sports, which now has some 20 employees, had to build a new showroom 5 years ago to keep up with the latest market trends and new releases. It was a risky investment, but Lanteigne went for it.

“We needed a whole new building with a big showroom. Recreation is a risky business, so it wasn’t easy. But UNI was there for me. They’ve always been a great supporter of my business. They take pride in it, just like me. I get a lot of compliments on the new store, and it simply wouldn’t have happened without UNI.”

Unexpected boon for business

Lanteigne’s company has seen explosive growth since the COVID-19 pandemic. “People started buying and haven’t stopped. It’s hard to keep up. Demand is outstripping what we can supply. It really was like a bomb went off. You have no idea what to do. All our snowmobiles are already reserved for next winter and I’m pretty much out of personal watercraft for the summer. It’s a real challenge!”

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