Patricia Dupuy owns and operates seven Tim Hortons restaurants in Quebec. She shared her story of joining the Tims family — which started with her family opening their first restaurant together more than 20 years ago in L’Assomption on Montreal’s North Shore. Since then, Patricia has acquired seven Tim Hortons restaurants feeding and fueling residents and guests across Quebec and isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

How did you first become involved with Tim Hortons?

I remember very clearly the day my father came home and told us that a friend had just bought a Tim Hortons and that they loved it. My parents then asked my sister and me if we’d be interested in considering becoming owners as a family - the four of us. I said yes without any hesitation and left the job I had at the time to run this business with my family.

Tim Hortons wasn’t as well know at the time in Quebec, but I knew a bit about the chain and knew I had liked it already. We went through the selection process as a family and my parents became franchisees. We opened our first restaurant in July 1999 in L’Assomption on Montreal’s North Shore. We quickly realized that this is what we were meant to be doing. A month later, my parents purchased two other restaurants and at only 23 years old, I was managing one of them.

You started as a manager in 1999. How did you evolve into becoming a restaurant owner and what does that responsibility look like now?

In 2003, it was finally my turn to become a restaurant owner and open my first restaurant in Repentigny, Quebec. In 2005, I married an amazing man who helped and supported me as I opened my second Tim Hortons restaurant. Now, I proudly own and operate seven restaurants.

I’ve lived through five openings and countless renovations. I’m involved in my community and I’m a proud ambassador for the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps where we get the chance to offer unforgettable experiences to many young people to develop their leadership skills through their multi-year summer programs.

As a woman, what are the challenges you have faced since opening your first Tim Hortons?

Honestly, I never got the impression that being a woman was a barrier. I’ve always pressed ahead without thinking that being a woman would close any doors. It’s been 22 years since I joined the great Timmies family and I’ve never felt that being a woman would slow down my progress within the organization.

What are some of your achievements you’ve celebrated as a female entrepreneur/business owner?

Over the years, we overcame several hurdles as a team but also had wonderful victories as five-time winners of the Always Fresh grand prize – a restaurant prize amongst Tim Hortons owners across Canada. I’ll never forget the night where we won both categories for two of my restaurants – it was such a proud moment – I still get chills!

Another great accomplishment was opening my restaurant in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan after two tireless years. However, it was extremely rewarding. In fact, I continue to be proud of every Tim Hortons we open, whether it’s the 8th, 9th, 10th or beyond!

Have you had any mentors along the way?

My mom and dad. When you’re younger, you don’t realize how powerful your parents’ influence is on your development. My parents are amazing, hard-working, loving and honest people. They gave me all the tools I needed to become the businesswoman that I am today.

But the most wonderful gift I got from them is the trust they’ve always had in me; it allowed me to believe in my own abilities. They’ve always supported me, pushed me to do better and go past my limits. I still ask for their advice today.

What makes your story different?

Every story is unique! Mine is the success I feel everyday when coming to my restaurants. I’m lucky to have an amazing family and partner. Now that my parents left the venture behind for a well-deserved retirement, my sister and I, along with the support of our husbands, are continuing our path to serve our communities in Quebec.

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