Eastern Bank customer Landry's Bicycles has long been admired for its friendly and expert bicycle sales and service. Founded in 1922 by the Landry family and later led by the Henry family, this community-focused business now operates from eight neighborhood stores in Massachusetts. Working with a community bank is core to its business philosophy.
Most recently, Landry's completed a long-held vision, transitioning into a 100% employee-owned organization, with the help of Eastern Bank, a process that culminated just in time for its centennial.
Creating Happiness and a Culture of Teamwork
Since Landry's earliest days, the company has strived to be in the words of Landry's Marketing & Advocacy Director Jack Johnson, “the best bike shop for the world.” Treating each customer as an honored guest is part of its ethos. Adds Johnson, “We see our stores as hubs for cycling as well as creating healthier, happier people who enjoy the outdoors.” A regular sponsor of local events, charity rides and cycling seminars, community is embedded into all that it does.
The company has also long fostered a culture of strong teamwork and pride in the business. Johnson, after working at the company for over two decades, says, "As far as staff go, it's very much a collaborative company where every opinion, every suggestion counts. That's all part of the strong ownership culture that I think the company had even before becoming employee-owned."
During the pandemic, Landry’s suddenly became an essential business for transportation. Its team adjusted to the increased volume brought by the boom in bicycling. E-commerce sales grew, a new location opened and two other stores moved to new locations, all while employee hiring accelerated. At a time of significant growth, transitioning to a 100% employee-owned company took on greater significance to create further cohesion among employees.
From Family-Owned to Employee-Owned
As Johnson explains, the idea of becoming an employee-owned business began with the Henry family’s belief in Landry’s staying true to its core values well into the future. He notes when it came to succession planning, "We had to decide, just what was the future of the company going to be? It takes a special type of owner to consider and then convert to an employee-owned business as the succession plan."
The transition to a 100% employee-owned company is a complex process requiring an experienced banking partner like Eastern that understands the balance between returning capital to the sellers and the company’s growth objectives in the future. Johnson says, “It takes a lot of perspective, communications and a good banking advisor to steward you through the process. Eastern brings a deep understanding of how employee-owned businesses work, and the decisions that lead to setting up a solid structure and sustainable financing.”
Leveraging Eastern Bank's Banking Solutions
Eastern’s deep experience as a lending partner for employee-owned businesses appealed to Landry’s. Eastern provided a revolving line of credit for their working capital needs and a term loan to help fund and facilitate the transition to a 100% employee-owned company. Additionally, when demand for bicycles surged during the pandemic, Eastern was able to simultaneously help Landry’s borrow on terms tailored to the company’s specific needs, which included growth capital to support its expansion plans.
Eastern’s team of bankers strive to deliver high-quality customer service and responsiveness tailored to each customer. Working with Landry’s, they take the time to understand the day-to-day business needs in order to offer customized financial products and services that go well beyond traditional loans.
When Landry’s called to discuss a unique idea about a mobile truck for on-site bike servicing, Eastern’s Relationship Manager was available to discuss financing options. The Eastern team also provided in-depth training on its cash management online platform to help Landry’s manage its cash flow operations as efficiently as possible.
Now as an employee-owned business celebrating its 100th anniversary, Landry’s is positioned to maintain its independence for the next 100 years and beyond. Being a sustainable bicycling business deeply-rooted in the community that treats both employees and customers well is also firmly rooted. By working together with Eastern Bank, the business has taken ambitious plans for its future and turned them into a concrete reality.
Together, Landry's Bicycles and Eastern Bank are fast pedaling into the future of employee-owned, community-focused business. For personalized assistance with your own business venture, get in touch with us today.