By Ben and Amanda Lauzon
We had successful careers in the federal government when we decided to pursue our dream of owning a business. As the parents of four young children, we were already regular customers at the Boomerang Kids consignment shop in Orleans, Ont., just east of Ottawa. Once we heard they were looking for new franchisees, we decided to buy the whole store. Now, we’re going multi-unit.
I was born and raised in Orleans, the youngest of three siblings. I was artsy and musical, playing piano for 10 years starting at the age of five, and I was good at math.
My mother was a teacher, so she got every summer off and we would spend it at a cottage in Val-des-Bois, Que. My father was a truck driver for a dairy company. I started working at their milk factory when I was 16, doing manual labour in the shipping and receiving area, so I saw my dad every time he got back. I was there for eight years.
Amanda and I met in Grade 9. We’ve been together for 16 years and married for six.
After I studied business and accounting at the University of Ottawa, I started getting contracts in finance for the federal government. I was also offered a job in 2005 with the university’s finance department, but decided it was not as comfortable a working environment for me. The government was more structured and easier to work for, so I went there full-time in 2007.
I was also born in Orleans and have one brother who’s 18 months older than me. Growing up in a part of town that backed onto a greenbelt, we spent a lot of time outdoors riding our bikes and we played well together. We were also both into the same sports, like hockey and soccer.
Our parents are from Cornwall, Ont., and we still have family there. My mother was a nurse who later specialized in occupational health and safety (OHS). My father was a police officer. Today, my brother is also a cop.
At school, I was oriented toward subjects like sociology, history, human sciences and psychology. Gym was also a huge interest. I’m very different from Ben in these respects, but we were drawn to each other by our differences, which gave us a lot to talk about and discover when we started dating.
For a long time, I wanted to be a veterinarian, as I love animals, but I only enjoyed science that wasn’t too mathematical. I worked at a veterinary hospital for six years. I was mostly a receptionist, but also did some kennel work and even assisted with surgeries.
I worked for Health Canada when I was young as a ‘decoy.’ They would pick me up and take me around Ottawa to various convenience stores to try to buy cigarettes underage. If I was successful, I had to write up a report. And sometimes I had to appear in court as a witness. It was a job like no other. It really developed my observational and reporting skills.
I got placed with the Canadian Coast Guard when I was still working at the vet hospital. Soon I was working full-time for the government.