Lanctot Ltd.
Montreal, Quebec
Sporting goods, apparel and ophthalmic frame distributor
Primary market: Canada, US, Europe
Number of employees: 110
Diane Lanctot, president
Allison Thompson, marketing director

A sporting effort

When Diane Lanctot, president of Lanctot Ltd., was growing up, the thought of entering her father Raymond’s sporting goods distribution business never entered her mind. Instead, she studied physiotherapy. It was only after operating a highly successful clinic for several years that Lanctot realized how much she enjoyed the business aspects of her practice.

“I guess I am an entrepreneur at heart,” says this middle child who grew up in a family of five sisters. “After running a company of my own, I began to look at my father’s firm in a whole new way.” Lanctot, who had gotten her feet wet in the business world as a child, when her father took her on the road to meet clients, finally took a job there in the early 1980s.

The fit was almost immediately perfect. “I love sports,” says Lanctot. “I run, ski, golf and do mountaineering. So I have a natural interest in the field and the work is actually fun to me.” Lanctot Ltd., which has grown steadily through the years, today markets a range of sporting goods, apparel and ophthalmic frames.  She attributes the business’s success to several factors, notably the considerable investments the company has made in its IT and distribution systems, in order to get closer to retailers.

Lanctot’s ability to identify and leverage new opportunities, such as the company’s acquisition of the Fisher distribution business and development of a new hockey brand also played a role. So did the company’s entry into the into the ophthalmic frame line which is handled by her husband Stephane Leroy. The couple has also been eyeing the future, with son Frederic, 26, who is also a middle child, now gradually getting his feet wet in the business, just like his mother did many years ago.

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