The apple never falls far from the tree. That's what the saying goes, and in the case of the Lacroix, it couldn't be truer.
Elisabeth, who will soon take over as general manager of Cidrerie Lacroix, embodies the fifth generation of apple growers in her family. But if she had been told a few years ago that she would succeed her parents at the head of the family business, she would never have believed it.
Like many children of entrepreneurs, she was immersed in the adventure very young, first by welcoming visitors to the orchard during the harvest. And then there were the summer jobs as a teenager. Then, the desire to break free from the family universe.
“Working with your family is not easy every day! It’s full of benefits, but also challenges,” she says.
We often imagine that tight-knit families get along well all the time, even at work. But in reality, it is an environment where you have to take care of your communications and stay away from the unsaid that lead to false beliefs. The good of the family demands it.
A family story
Elisabeth studied accounting at university, and afterwards she worked in other companies, before realizing that she had the character of an entrepreneur.
“I wanted to start something. But that was a bit silly, because there was a business in my backyard! she recalls laughing.
Elisabeth's parents bought their land in 1988. They planted apple trees there and for several years, everything was geared towards agrotourism, with apple picking and some farm products. In 2004, there were the first ciders, which bore the first name of each of the couple's three daughters: Elisabeth, Gabrielle and Anne. The second now manages production and catering. The third is still on the school benches.
Elisabeth and Gabrielle share the same vision and complement each other well. They were the ones who had the desire to grow the business by opening reception rooms and a gourmet table to showcase the ciders – Elisabeth's greatest pleasure is to eat! Bad luck, this magnificent table was opened on September 1, 2020 in time for the harvest season, but the rise in cases of COVID-19 led to the closure of the restaurant at the end of the same month and until June 2021.
The family tasted financial challenges. When you have just invested and you have the rug pulled from under your feet, the pressure mounts. Fortunately, it was still possible to receive the apple pickers and continue the production and sale of ciders; those of Lacroix are the most popular in Quebec.
“My parents are resourceful and creative people, always able to work miracles with little, so we always found solutions to respect budgets. It’s a great apprenticeship that they gave me as an entrepreneur,” admits the future director, who will start her new role in June, after a smooth transition that will have lasted four years.
During the harvest season, the Lacroix receive some 70,000 visitors. Elizabeth wants 100,000. Let's not wait for the picking rush... the orchards in bloom at the end of May are a postcard, and summer is a great excuse to head out into the fields.
PROFILE OF ELISABETH LACROIX