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Success Stories | Brigitte Cyr chooses entrepreneurship as a career transition

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Brigitte Cyr chooses entrepreneurship as a career transition

Brigitte Cyr is originally from Edmundston. She is the wife of Sylvain Cyr and mother to two beautiful children, Vincent and Noémie. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Brigitte worked in the field of social work for approximately 17 years. However, over the years, while she was involved in her husband's businesses, she also wanted to start her own business and has since made a career shift.

"I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and am convinced that it was passed on to me by my dad. Even if he passed away when I was twelve, I grew up watching him work in his business and it always inspired me. Although I didn't start my own business until much later, I'm convinced that he passed on to me his passion for business."

When Brigitte got involved in the construction projects of the Best Western and Days Inn hotels with her husband Sylvain and her father-in-law, it only confirmed her desire to start her own business. "Because I really enjoy cooking, I took several private cooking classes over the years with various chefs, including my mentor, the late Chef Noël Lelièvre. I then decided to combine my two passions for cooking and entrepreneurship and, in 2007, launched my first business: Cuisine Exquise (no longer in operation). The business provided home cooked meals to citizens and businesses of the Madawaska region." Almost 10 years later, Brigitte is proud to say that she and her husband are singlehandedly responsible for creating over 100 jobs in the region. Then came Brigitte's major business launch.

In 2011, Brigitte transformed this passion by investing in a major project with the acquisition of Le Patrimoine restaurant (115, Rivière-à-la-truite Road, Saint-Jacques), that specializes in wood stove pizza. Furthermore, in 2014, since Brigitte is also very passionate about fashion, her adventure continued with the acquisition of the Douceur de Nuit shop (121, Church Street, Edmundston), a store specializing in underwear, swimwear and uniforms.

From the start, Brigitte has invested a great deal of time and money in her two businesses. For Le Patrimoine, she invested in her business image with the design of a new logo and a new website. She also expanded the kitchen, the main dining room and the parking lot. Thereafter, she added an outdoor patio and fireplace (32 additional seats), a lounge/dining room (20 additional seats), as well as a 35-seat dining room on the second floor of the restaurant. With all these additional seats, she also had to add a second wood stove in order to meet the demand. Furthermore, to continue to satisfy her customers, she added 13 pizzas to the menu, five new salad dressings available in stackable bottles, local products, homemade soups and deserts, starters and an appetizer service. The menu was completely revamped and new additions were made to the wine list. Constantly on the lookout for new ideas, Brigitte now provides monthly offers and special menus to her customers.

"In addition to investing in equipment, I invested significantly in my staff. We started by providing adequate training to employees, in addition to creating an employee manual with the help of a human resources professional. In a nutshell, Le Patrimoine restaurant provides fresh ingredients, served by a friendly staff in a warm atmosphere. Customer service is of the utmost importance."

For Douceur de Nuit, Brigitte once again redesigned the company image, in addition to adding substantial inventory. "I now offer several exclusive brands, as well as swimwear, uniforms, Spanx products and ready-to-wear clothing. We also trained an employee who can fit bras for breast implants and added a product line suitable for women who have undergone a mastectomy. What sets us apart is the quality of our products as well as the fitting service our qualified personnel can provide."
When asked what is the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur, Brigitte answered: "My customers and innovation are what really motivate me. I am a woman who loves to be different and it is reflected in my two businesses. Every day, when I manage to find a product my customers will enjoy, it's mission accomplished!"

To set herself apart from her competitors, Brigitte truly believes that customers are important and she wants them to feel good when they visit her establishments. That's why she invests a lot, in both financial resources and time, in order to ensure that her employees are able to offer exceptional products and services. "People associate my businesses with the words quality and innovation, and I believe that's what sets me apart."

What advice would Brigitte give to a woman wishing to start her own business? "I would simply tell her to commit whole-heartedly and to focus on her strengths. It's important to do what we love as entrepreneurs because we have to invest a lot of our time in our business in order to strengthen it at its core, to then make it grow. I would also tell her to focus on being different to set herself apart."

One of Brigitte's favorite quotes that represents the true key to success in business is the following quote by Henry Ford: Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success. She feels that the most important thing is to surround yourself with the right people and to accept that you can't physically split yourself in two. You therefore have to hire people on your team who complement you and have the same vision.
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