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Mini-cast 185: ESOP Landry's Bicycles Celebrates 100 Years

Bret Keisling and Nancy Mayne celebrate Landry's Bicycles, an eight-store retailer in Massachusetts. Started in 1922, Landry's became a partial ESOP in 2010, and recently became 100% employee owned.


Landry's Bicycles

About Landry's Bicycles

Landry's employee-owners gather for a team photo during a company meeting.
Landry's employee-owners gather for a team photo during a company meeting. [Source: Landry's Bicycle's About page.]

Landry's Bicycles is one of the longest operating bike shops in America. The business was first established by the Landry Family, then owned by the Henry Family (1975–2010) and is now collectively owned by Landry's dedicated employees.

Rated as one of "America's Best Bike Shops", with a growing family of bicycle stores located in Massachusetts, Landry’s has also been nationally recognized as National Bicycle Dealer of the Year for supporting bicycle advocacy.

Now 100% employee-owned

Landry's started to transition to an employee-owned company in 2010, and the final ESOP transaction was completed in January 2022 — which also marked the start of Landry's 100th anniversary.

Mark Gray, Landry’s general manager, commented on the 100% ESOP transaction:

"As Landry’s Bicycles begins to celebrate our 100th year in business, we are extremely excited to become a 100% employee-owned company. Everyone who works at Landry’s is passionate about cycling and serving our valued customers. Becoming 100% employee-owned will help strengthen our commitments to collaborative teamwork, exceptional customer service, and long-term business viability."

As co-owners, Landry's staff have a vested interest in collaborative teamwork, exceptional customer service, and a visionary goal for Landry's to become "the best bike shop for the world."


As Landry's Bicycles continues to grow, they are always looking for good people to work in their local stores — including sales and mechanical staff. References

You can read the article in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News [BRAIN] that Nancy Mayne mentioned in this episode here.


Mini-cast 185 Transcript

[00:00:06] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Nancy Mayne, the communications collaborator for the EO Podcast Network in her first visit to the EO Mini-cast.

[00:00:25] Nancy, thanks for coming on.

[00:00:26] Nancy Mayne: Hey, great to be here.

[00:00:27] Bret Keisling: We are here to celebrate a great employee-owned company that is doing a couple of cool, noteworthy things this year.

[00:00:35] Tell us about the company.

[00:00:36] Nancy Mayne: Sure. Today we'll be talking about Landry's Bicycles. They've been serving cycling enthusiasts in Massachusetts and beyond since 1922.

[00:00:45] This means that this year they're celebrating their Centennial and they are one of the longest operating bike shops in the whole of the US.

[00:00:52] Bret Keisling: That is very cool. And there's also a milestone regarding their track for employee ownership this year?

[00:00:58] Nancy Mayne: Yes, there is. This year in January, they completed their transition to a hundred percent employee owned.

[00:01:03] Bret Keisling: Excellent. And by employee owned, they took the ESOP path.

[00:01:06] So, Nancy, we are celebrating their hundredth anniversary and the completion of their journey to 100% ESOP. Why don't you tell us about the company?

[00:01:14] Nancy Mayne: Sure, love to. Company started then in 1922, when a gentleman named Leon Landry started a cycle shop in Franklin, Mass., and he featured bicycles from Schwinn and Raleigh and Columbia, these companies that we know so well. They also sold Harley-Davidson motorcycles back in the day.

[00:01:32] Bret Keisling: Which is kind of funny because that isn't intuitive today, but back then it may have almost seemed like bicycles and motorcycles were, you know, similar things.

[00:01:42] Nancy Mayne: Exactly. They were a cyclery shop.

[00:01:45] Bret Keisling: Excellent.

[00:01:45] Nancy Mayne: So, the company was owned by the Landrys, by Leon and his younger brother, John from 1922 through 1974. The Landry family then they transitioned the company to the Henry family in 1975 and they owned it through 2010.

[00:02:02] 2009, the Henry brothers, Peter and Tom, started doing research in how to transition as they were starting to consider their retirement. In 2010, they had their first transaction. And as I said, this year, they've completed to a hundred percent.

[00:02:18] Bret Keisling: I love that.

[00:02:19] Nancy Mayne: So, what's interesting about how the Henrys came to the Landrys is that Peter and his brother, Tom, actually bought their first touring bikes from Leon's shop in Taunton, Mass. Peter started to work for the shop and then in 1975, the Henry family took over.

[00:02:35] Excellent.

[00:02:36] Bret Keisling: And so, they held it. And then in 2010, they began the transition to employee ownership.

[00:02:41] And you've learned a little bit about consolidation in the bicycle industry and why employee ownership is really important.

[00:02:47] Nancy Mayne: Right. I had found an article in Bicycle Retailer and Industry News [BRAIN] that considers what Landry's is doing is bucking an industry trend, basically, by forming this ESOP and becoming a hundred percent employee owned, because a lot of brands like Specialized and Trek have been buying more independent bike shops recently.

[00:03:08] So, this makes Landry stand out, because it is an employee-owned retailer. This is very important as seen by one of the managers, Mark Vautour, who has been with Landry's for over 25 years. He looks at it this way. If you're owned by a bicycle brand, then you sell that bicycle brand. Remaining independent allows Landry's to have a focused and curated selection of bikes, which is both important for the business and for the consumer.

[00:03:36] Bret Keisling: I love that. And what we know about employee ownership, employee-owned companies is that it's a great way to maintain jobs and keep the jobs in the communities. A lot of industries have different consolidations. And so, we talk all the time on the podcast about, you know, if you're not employee owned it's easier for a competitor to come in, buy you out, lose all the jobs.

[00:03:57] But this is the first time that, referencing from the trade magazine that you said, where it's actually a strategy to avoid consolidation from the manufacturers themselves. That's very interesting.

[00:04:07] Nancy Mayne: It is very interesting. And what I really liked is that the Henry brothers, when they were considering retirement, they admitted, there's only so many ways to get out of a business.

[00:04:16] So, you know, they didn't want to just die and pass along debts, so to speak. They didn't want to sell to the highest bidder in this case, which we're seeing a lot of. They didn't want to liquidate either. The owners really saw the opportunity to make an option available to their employees. And they do talk about the idea of them being like family.

[00:04:36] Bret Keisling: I love that Nancy, on a personal note, you've lived in Europe for a good chunk of your adult life. And there's a little connection to France that goes back quite a number of years. Why don't you tell us, what you saw that seemed pretty cool?


Nancy Mayne: Yeah, it's fascinating. I did live in France but wasn't around when the Landry brothers were in France. During World War II, the younger brother, John, was in the army and they have a photo on the website and a little explanation about how there was a bicycle shop, basically, for the troops and keeping those military bicycles repaired and on the roads to help our soldiers fight for freedom.

[00:05:12] Bret Keisling: So, Nancy that actually, setting up a bicycle shop on the battlefields of France during World War II, that's probably the first example of a pop-up shop we can think of. That's really cool!

[00:05:22] Nancy Mayne: Yeah. Could be, could be.

[00:05:24] Bret Keisling: I love that. We're going to include the picture from France on our show notes. We'll have links to Landry's and also the bicycle industry magazine that you had referenced that article, we'll include all of that in our show notes.

[00:05:35] We want to take this time to congratulate the employee owners at Landry's for keeping the company going strong. We want to give our support. There are eight locations in Massachusetts.

[00:05:55] Bret Keisling: So, I love that. And if someone has a passion for cycling, what a great way to work for a great company, be an employee owner, and, be tied in with what your passion is.

[00:06:06] Nancy Mayne: Exactly. And they've been nationally and state recognized as best in Boston, several years, they have been recognized on a national level as well. So, definitely passion driven. It would be a great place as a cyclist.

[00:06:20] Bret Keisling: Nancy, you're going to come back from time to time with other employee-owned companies that you want to highlight. This was a great job. I appreciate your sharing about Landry's with all of us.

[00:06:29] Nancy Mayne: It was my pleasure.

[00:06:30] Bret Keisling: With that, we're going to wrap up today's episode of the Mini-cast. If you know of a great employee-owned company, you'd like to see highlighted, send us a message through social media. We'd love to highlight them in the future as well.

[00:06:41] So, once again, congratulations to everybody at Landry's We appreciate their journey. We appreciate that they're a great employee-owned company. And my thanks to Nancy Mayne for sharing about them.

[00:06:51] And most of all, thank you for listening. This is Bret Keisling be well.


[00:06:55] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, production assistance by Victoria Huerta, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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