Owner of La Cyclerie de Knowlton puts life before business

By Taylor McClure – Special to Brome County News

La Cyclerie de Knowlton, an ice cream shop and bicycle stop for accessories, equipment and quick bike repairs, has permanently closed its doors. The business, opened in 2018 by Mélanie Trottechaud and her former partner Philippe, who already owned a couple of bicycle shops, to help teach their children the ins and outs of business and to provide a space for cyclists to meet a need in the village. After taking over the business on her own some two years ago, it became overwhelming for Trottechaud, who already had fulltime employment in Montreal, which led to her recent decision to close up shop.

“It’s been open for four seasons and it was a shared project with my ex-partner. He left after two years so I was alone with the museum and the Cyclerie, so I decided to just keep the Cyclerie.”

The Cyclerie offered ice cream, sorbet, and Trottechaud’s homemade gelato with most products being imported from Italy; it was time consuming. “It takes one hour to make one pound of gelato, but I was known for the taste and the quality. Clients came for that. If it was raspberry, it tasted like real raspberry, if it was mango, it tasted like real mango.”

It was also a place for the many cyclists who passed through the village, something that Trottechaud and Phillippe felt the community lacked. “It was a Dépanneur and there were bicycle accessories. We did a little bit of mechanics, but then Philippe wasn’t there. Everyone knew the Cyclerie. It was really a place for people who needed accessories.”

The project also helped their children gain important skills in business and customer service such as filling out orders, taking phone calls, dealing with different types of clientele, running a cash register. “Now they’re able to do everything.”

The business experienced much success, but it became too much for Trottechaud to do on her own.

“It takes a lot of time and investment. It’s been four years that I haven’t had a vacation and when I did take vacation it was to run the Cyclerie.”

Trottechaud works full-time for the Montreal Police Department and raises her children, leading her to question how she could continue moving forward. “In the summer of 2020, I was very discouraged because I didn’t know how to orchestrate this. The pandemic led me to question what I wanted from life.”

When she closed the doors to the Cyclerie in September, wrapping everything up for the summer, she decided it was enough. “I want to profit from life. I want to go to the beach with my kids, I want to go camping, and go cycling. I was always under pressure and I don’t feel like being under pressure anymore.”

Despite not being from the area and nervous that the business might to be well received, Trottechaud emphasized that she met some incredible people along her journey and developed important relationships. “Everyone from the village and everyone who came to the village came here because they wanted to buy something. I closed the doors and I’m keeping that in my heart. I was able to create something unique.”

She sold all of her equipment and the space is now up for rent, but Trottechaud purchased a home in the village and is looking forward to supporting her fellow entrepreneurs. “I want to thank everyone in the community for encouraging me. I don’t want people to think that I am closing because of the pandemic, the pandemic is when I learned how to put myself first. I’m closing Le Cyclerie because life is more important than everything else.”

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