Gatineau, Quebec sits just above the border with Ontario, just across the Ottawa River from the Nation’s capital. The run community here has looked to La Foulée Sportive since it opened in 2001 to be their go-to boutique for expert advice and personal customer service in all things walking, running and training in the Outaouais region.
Owner Alain Poirier was running his own tennis pro shop when he noticed a need for a specialty run shop in the area that focused on a true fit for the customer, rather than on what fad or fashion happened to be hot at the time. That became the name of the game at La Foulée Sportive, and the approach remains the number one priority 17 years later.
General Manager Martin Lacroix believes it’s this personal touch that keeps runners coming back. “In the era we’re living in, people find they don’t get service anymore,” Martin says. “When they come into our store, that’s the main thing we do. We listen to them and we ask the questions to make sure that whatever we suggest, whatever they leave with, it’s something that they need.”
Their small, tight-knit staff stays up-to-date on the latest in innovation and technology, being runners themselves and students who are studying in a field connected to running. The store gets out into the wider community, too, by partnering with coaches outside of the store and sponsoring a handful of running groups in town.
You can also find them at most of the race expos in and around the area, including the Ottawa Race Weekend -- which Martin credits as helping to grow the sport in Gatineau as it itself has grown. “We’ve seen more and more people running, that’s for sure,” Martin notes. “It’s so simple and flexible.”
Simple and flexible. It could just as easily describe the atmosphere in La Foulée Sportive. Whatever your needs are in a running shoe, Martin, Alain, and the rest of the crew are there to make it easy to find you that perfect fit.