It would be surprising if Paul André Berthiaume, whose hobby was to repair neighbourhood bicycles, could have imagined that his hobby would become a flourishing business managed by his sons 50 years later. However, that is what happened: Polo Vélo is a leader in bicycle sales and repair in the Outaouais region.
True to its reputation, Polo Vélo is still prominent with its peerless after-sale service and the quality of its products. Polo Vélo is the largest retailer of its kind in the area. A visit to this family store dedicated entirely to the cycling world is undoubtedly an extraordinary experience and the start of a love affair with cycling, this wonderful activity which has become a lifestyle for many.
From the start our vision has always been to ensure that our clients get personalized service both at the time of sale and afterwards. We take the required time to listen to our customers needs in order to guide them toward the appropriate products for their needs. We want to ensure that clients are satisfied with their purchase and that it meets their needs.
When you shop at Polo Vélo, you can be certain that all our employees have the mandate to offer great customer service both during and after you have purchased your bicycle or accessories from us.
Polo Vélo has always participated in community activities. We are convinced that sport is a necessary aspect of everyday life and we strive to promote it as much as possible especially for kids.
Here are a few examples of our recent activities:
Employed with us for more than 6 years, Mathieu's initial passion was mountain biking. He then started riding almost every kind of bike, such as BMX and dirt jump. Ever since he was a kid, Mathieu has always loved bicycles. He now is our manger of customer service.
Employed with us for the last 5 years, Julien raced with Les cuisses d'Or de l'Outaouais. In addition to riding road bikes, he know does mountain riding.
An employee since 1991 and owner since 2008, Sébastien started out mountain biking, where he participated in various competitions from 1992 to 1995. Afterwards he moved on to downhill as well as free ride. Now he mainly rides road bikes.
Jean-François is assitant director of Polo Vélo and responsible for the service side of the business. He has been working at Polo Vélo since 2000. He is an excellent free ride cyclist, who also likes mountain biking and downhill.
This love of bicycles and this family story began in the early 1960s, when the patriarch’s pastime was to repair the bicycles of neighbourhood children. Due to his skills, Mr Berthiaume developed a clientele in Old-Gatineau. He straightened, repaired and painted bicycles before and after his real job in the research department at the CIP. In 1972, the research division was transferred to Hawkesbury, Ontario. Mr. Berthiaume took the opportunity for retirement and a sabbatical.
Soon afterwards, he decided to go full-time with a bicycle repair shop in the basement of the family home at the corner of Main and Saint-René. He soon built an excellent reputation.
In 1982, the business was nothing more than a 600 square-foot store, with a small repair shop in the basement. It was around that time that the business was named Polo Vélo, from the nickname ‘Polo’, derived from Paul André.
In 1988 the Berthiaume brothers (Michel, Jacques and Claude) took over the business from their father. Between 2000 and 2002 Jacques became sole shareholder of Polo Vélo.
It became so successful that the store had to be expanded for the first time in 1991, when a second story was built. At the turn of the millennium, it was time for revamping and redesigning the store.
In 2002 came the chance to buy the building next door in order to improve the repair service side of the business. Faster and more professional service was the chief reason behind this purchase.
The ever-growing customer base called for another expansion, this time in 2008. Management made the leap and expanded the showroom to more than 10,000 square feet.
It is in 2008 that Sébastien Boudreault, a dedicated employee since 1991, buys his first shares of the company. After 5 years of partnership between Sébastien and M. Berthiaume, he had enough confidence in him to give him the reins of the company, and it is in 2012 that Sébastien acquired all of the shares in Polo Vélo in order to become the only shareholder.