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Women in Franchising: Eveline Canape of Énergie Cardio

Photos courtesy Énergie Cardio

By Emily Smibert
Physical educator and entrepreneur Eveline Canape began her career in the fitness industry more than 30 years ago as a group exercise instructor. She now shares the helm of Quebec’s largest fitness centre franchise network, Énergie Cardio, as vice-president (VP) and co-owner, having recently purchased the business with veteran franchisee Claire Tremblay. Canape explains how her passion for people and the fitness industry led her to Énergie Cardio and why she’s dedicated to industry education and changing lives.

On finding her way in the fitness industry
I grew up in a family valuing activity and exercise. From skiing to running and hiking, we did it all. However, dynamics changed when at the age of 14, both my parents became handicapped. My father had multiple sclerosis (MS) and my mother was in a car accident.

It was a defining moment for me because I realized quickly how activity and the ability to move impact one’s quality of life and the happiness of others around them. I made the decision then that I’d dedicate my work to the fitness industry and helping people.

These revelations guided me to the Université de Montréal where I studied physical education and had the opportunity to work in rehabilitation with handicapped people and at a gym. From instructing group exercise classes and working with the elderly to branching into personal training, it was not long before I was managing a small department, then a bigger department and eventually an entire club.

When Goodlife Fitness and Énergie Cardio merged seven years ago, I was the director of operations at Goodlife. My role shifted to director of development for Énergie Cardio, where I was tasked with making the amalgamation of the brands seamless—to bring the knowledge of Goodlife to Quebec, while sharing knowledge of the Quebec fitness industry with Goodlife. This was where I met Claire.

Énergie Cardio has invested millions of dollars into the quality of the facilities and it shows.

On finding the right business partner
As a developer, I’m a very creative person and I love to motivate people. I’ve spent years building good relationships with people in this industry and helping them meet goals and exceed their own expectations.

I was fortunate to meet Claire at the beginning of my time with Énergie Cardio. She’s the model franchisee, with more than 20 years’ experience as a club owner and a personal knowledge and passion for the industry. She has her master’s degree in kinesiology. Over the years Claire and I worked together, it was clear our ideas and vision were both going in the same direction. Claire has a fantastic reputation as a business woman and is very well-known in Quebec for her work and community involvement. When the opportunity to purchase the franchise network appeared, it did not take long for us to say, “Yes, this is the team!” We’ve always worked well together, both developing the business and helping people. With our two reputations, it was an obvious partnership.

On loving her job
Claire and I have both been devoted to the company for years, so it seems fitting we are the ones to carry on the legacy of Énergie Cardio and ensure the company continues encouraging, educating and leading people towards building healthy fitness lifestyles. We are not just leaders, managers or owners, but also active participants in the fitness centre community. We have personal trainers, use the group exercise classes ourselves and have built personal relationships with members and staff. These relationships have made the transition to co-owner easy. I’ve been surrounded by people thrilled to see Claire and me take over the company because they know us. They know we are going to do what’s best for everybody, we understand the needs of our franchisees, members and staff and we are going to remain dedicated to preserving the company’s culture and club environment.

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