By Mark Cardwell
As creeds go, it evokes the image of cyclist who has become one of the best-known accessories, cross-country skiing clothes and
the Comte de Frontenac, that apparel and equipment developers in the accessories,helmetsforalpineskiing,children’s
most illustrous governor of New industry and a giant in Quebec business circles. clothing, personalized team clothing and, most
France, who, when asked by an So it’s something of a surprise to meet the recently, bikes and fitness equipment.
English emissary if he would give up Quebec soft-spoken, aw-shucks family man behind One of the world’s largest manufacturers
City to a sieging invasion force in 1690, those terse words. “We’ve been so lucky,” of top-line cycling helmets and a major spon-answered,“Tellyourlord Ishallreply withthe Garneau says in his second-floor office, a sor of elite international racing teams and
mouth of my cannons.” room furnished with, among other things, cycling athletes, the company employs about
“Ne jamais abandonner.” That’s the pithy hand-painted angel statues and a long 450 people at six factories in Canada and the
slogan painted on the tinted glass behind the wooden table he made himself. “I can’t believe United States, and generates approximately
reception desk at the entrance to the Louis we’ve come so far so fast.” $50 million in annual sales around the world.
Garneau Sports factory in an industrial park in To be sure, Garneau’s ride to the top of the
Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, a quiet French corporate cycling world has been steep and From child to champion
Canadian village just a few miles east of where sweet. Founded on a single product he made in Like the innovative designs that are syn-Frontenac uttered those famous words. “Never his father’s garage 23 years ago, Louis Garneau onymous with the Louis Garneau name, the
give up.” Sports today designs, manufactures and dis- company’s history is inextricably intertwined
The phrase is attributed to the company’s tributes hundreds of high-quality sports items, with that of its founder. Born and raised in the
namesake and founder, a former Olympic including cycle wear, cycling helmets and Quebec City suburb of Sainte-Foy, where his
At 48, Garneau (below)
remains trim and active,
showing off the form that
made him Quebec’s long-distance champion
in 1976 (inset).