40 under 40 — Shea Mayer
Alpha Psi, 2006 — Recognized in: 2020
Shea Mayer (Alpha Psi ’06) is the founder of Fitz & Follwell Co., an experiential tour company based in Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal. After graduating from Concordia University in 2006, Shea sojourned in Europe for a year and fell in love with the concept of bike tours after a memorable experience in Munich (war history, cultural sites, and a litre stein of Munich’s best at the biergarten were on the tour agenda). Shea returned to Montreal and launched his tours from a $100-a-month laneway garage in 2009, and a few years later added a brick and mortar retail shop, specializing in commuter, cargo, and touring bikes and gear. “Fitz” was Shea’s Irish Grandmother Fitzgerald’s nickname and “Follwell” his mother’s maiden name, Shea being the third generation entrepreneur after his Mom and Grandfather Frank Follwell, who was also a Canadian politician.
Fast forward 10 years, Fitz has served tens of thousands of happy customers, employed more than 50 people, and has now grown to serve the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec City in addition to the headquarters at Montreal’s Velo Quebec. Fitz’s customer base includes vacationers, families, students, and businesses for offsite retreats. Shea utilizes his anthropology background to cater these experiences to the unique cultural offerings of each locale.
“We have the opportunity to welcome people everyday from around the world and show them around our favourite parts of Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec City in an active, sustainable, and truly exhilarating way. From the amateur haven’t-been-on-a-bike-in-10-
years rider to serious cyclists, all our customers really seem to enjoy discovering cities with us while feeling the wind in their hair.”
For any Anglophone (English mother-tongue) living in predominantly French-speaking Quebec who claims the business climate is not welcoming to outsiders, Shea is proof of the contrary. Shea’s business was supported with coaching and financing early on by both Montréal Inc. and the École des entrepreneurs du Québec, and he was also awarded the Québec Entrepreneur of the Year – Services (now known as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year) in 2011. All with the heavily British and Irish mouthfull of a name of Fitz & Follwell.
“I have big ideas and passionate dreams about how bicycles and sustainable tourism can play an integral role in how we move around our cities and between cities; both as local residents and as visitors to these places. Transportation, active living, cost savings, job creation, cultural exchange, creative output, and immense pleasure are all pillars and opportunities of this micromobility movement.”
You can connect with Shea on LinkedIn.