Northland is 30 y/o!

Well, I don’t usually toot our horn in this column, but…it’s our 30thanniversary! 

The legend is real.  Northland was started thirty years ago by me, Laura Scully, with a wheelbarrow on top of my Toyota Corolla and flowers all over the dashboard.

At the time it was unusual to have a woman (especially a 21-year-old) wanting to work landscaping in the Laurentians, so after being turned down by every company I applied to, I figured I would start my own.

I had four years of experience and a year at Humber College under my belt. I was already avant-garde – I completed my Horticulture training with distance learning from the University of Guelph, back when correspondence courses arrived in an envelope, by mail.

A business name was cooked up in a friend’s kitchen, and Ellen Matthiessen-Guay drew a flyer for me with a ponytailed girl gardening. It went in the window of a shack where I worked as a starter at the Gray Rocks golf course (now La Belle).

Some members were the first to bite. I did a good job for not much money: a business was born.

In the winters I taught ski-weeks for Mont-Tremblant Lodge and sometimes Gray Rocks, and supervised kids’ programs on the weekends. My boss was…Louis Joncas. Between giving out cards to the kids’ parents, and notably to Louis’s then-girlfriend’s mother (she was a huge help), I started getting more jobs.

For a couple of summers, I was full time at Gray Rocks andNorthland. Whenever I needed help shoveling, I would call Louis.

©Northland

Flowers were stored behind Conrad’s barn, and after a while I actually bought a small pickup. A manager at the Caisse Populaire gave me a credit margin with no collateral and no business plan.

As I got busier, I hired women to help. One poor Aussie guy came and did three days with us, said “you girls work %?&*ing hard!!!” and quit.

I was relentless: banging on doors, cold-calling cottage owners, and growing despite a rapidly shrinking economy. Then Intrawest hit town. What a change! Around the same time, after years of friendship and working together, Louis and I became a couple in life and in business.

His leadership, construction expertise, financial skills, and vision have been a driving force ever since.

One day the Tremblant Club called, and that was our first “big” commercial maintenance contract. I thought that just sort of happened, right? Um…no.

So, thank you Mr. Chippindale, and to Eric Lefebvre.  Work at Tremblant, many condos, and what is now the AVT came soon after (thanks, Pierre Brisson, visionary that you are).

Those were exciting years, and it has been quite a ride ever since. We have also been fortunate to work at great private properties, with nice, positive people – and with some of them we are on their third, or even fourth house, with many years of projects and maintenance in between, whether large or small.

Fast forward to 2019 and we are celebrating 30 years. We now have awesome partners in the business—Sylvie Sirard, gardening & maintenance leader extraordinaire, Yanik Charron, construction coordinator par excellence, and Don Puttee, machinery and excavation maestro.

Our team is amazing and many of them have been with us for five, 10, even 25 years. Northland would not be where it is today without all these great people – and for sure, we still work %?&*ing hard!

 

By the same author: Sooo…much…snow… (Click the image below)

 

 

Laura Scully52 Posts

Diplômée de l’Université de Guelph en horticulture, Laura Scully est cofondatrice et copropriétaire de Northland, entreprise tremblantoise d'aménagement paysager maintes fois primée. Elle partage son savoir horticole avec les lecteurs du Tremblant Express depuis 2009. / A University of Guelph graduate in horticulture, Laura Scully is the cofounder and co-owner of Northland, the Mont-Tremblant landscaping company that has won so many titles and awards. She has been sharing her knowhow with Tremblant Express readers since 2009. paysagistesnorthland.com

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