For quite some time now, regions in Quebec have been plagued by an exodus of young people to urban areas to attend school or to work. Tony Lévesque from Aumond in the Gatineau Valley was one of them – but he has since returned to his roots to go into business.
Lévesque left Aumond more than 10 years ago to study at the Cégep de l’Outaouais. He earned a college diploma in building mechanics technology and a vocational training certificate in refrigeration. He worked in this field for a few years in Gatineau before leaping at a golden opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
Back to Aumond
In 2018, Pothier Réfrigération, a Gatineau Valley company dating back a few decades, was up for sale.
Hendry Warren LLP is celebrating its first 20 years in business by bringing the next generation into the partnership.
“I saw it as an opportunity to get into business and return to the region where I was born, which I really missed. It was a decision I didn’t regret,” says Lévesque. To preserve Mr. Pothier’s notoriety, he renamed the company Pothier Lévesque Réfrigération.
As the sole owner of the business, Lévesque now has four employees to help him offer service seven days a week. Nearly 85 per cent of his customers are in the Gatineau Valley with the remainder in the Gatineau region.
“My customers in Gatineau are mainly cottage owners in the Gatineau Valley who ask me to look after their installations at their principal residence in Gatineau,” he adds.
COVID – a new market
Lévesque’s business offers refrigeration, air conditioning and heating services, work that has been directly impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic opened up a whole new customer segment thanks to teleworking.
“With people working from home, air conditioning became a must. We also witnessed a phenomenon where people in Gatineau and Ottawa chose to telework from their cottage in the Gatineau Valley. As a result, several fit-ups were needed to improve the work-from-home experience,” explains Lévesque.
His company, which serves the Grand-Remous territories and its outfitters up to Lac-Ste-Marie, could well expand in the short to medium term and open a store in Maniwaki. “This would enable our customers to see the products and equipment and obtain other information,” he adds.
Less stressful in the region
Lévesque does not regret his decision to move back to his stomping grounds to open a business.
“The pace is slower and less stressful than in Gatineau. There’s no need to keep going faster and faster. The cost of living is not as high, and it costs far less to own your own house,” he says. “I understand people who came over to our region to telework. I’ve also noticed that many young people return to the region after completing school to work here. Life is simpler in the Gatineau Valley.”
There is also a family situation that weighed heavily in Lévesque’s decision to return to Aumond.
“My entire family is here. I even decided to turn the house of my paternal grandmother into a bi-generational house. We’re all living under the same roof, and it’s simpler for everyone,” said Lévesque.
More entrepreneurs invest in the Gatineau Valley!
The Gatineau Valley provides several business opportunities for acquisitions, partnerships, new outlets or business launches. Want to know more visit: www.MyBusinessInTheGV.ca