First Generation Family Business Runs Strong

First Generation Family Business Runs Strong

1992-4-week-old-ben-first-suzuki-dealer-meeting-with-dadLinda and Phil Hodgson have spent most of their adult lives as the proprietors of HB Cycle. Most of the major events in their lives have happened in the last 25 years. Shortly after opening HB, they bought their first house. A year later the young couple got married, and two years after that their first child, Ben, was born. The new baby meant a bigger house and the cycle of life went on. Of course during this time the new business also demanded time and energy, and sometimes the couple was overwhelmed.

In Feb 1995, as HB Cycle was preparing to move to their new location, their beautiful daughter, Mallory, was born. Phil and Linda definitely had their hands full. As parents know, the next few years were a whirlwind of school, hockey practice, swimming lessons, dance classes, etc. Linda was left to most of the parenting responsibilities while Phil had to look after their other growing child, HB Cycle.

As time went by, Ben showed a love for everything motorized. At two years old, he would get so excited when his dad was going to take him for a snowmobile ride that they had to wrestle to get his suit on. He would ride till he fell asleep and would cry if his parents tried to pry him off the machine. It seems only natural that he was in his first snowmobile race at four years old. Ben rode everything, including sleds, dirt bikes and ATVs. He decided he was most comfortable with ATVs, and began racing a Suzuki 80 cc ATV at eleven years old. Ben has never stopped racing and now races at the pro level on a Yamaha Canada sponsored ATV. The greatest value Ben has gained from racing is a family of like-minded enthusiasts and friends that live all across the province.

family-photosMallory has chosen a different route and is currently studying at Jorgen School of Performing Arts in a dance performance studies program. This gave Phil one of his biggest culture shocks. One Saturday night after a day of racing and wrenching on clients’ ATVs, he left Ben at the motocross track in Port Perry and hustled back to Lindsay to attend Mallory’s dance recital. After an enjoyable evening at the theatre, Phil returned to the track close to midnight to fi nd the pits had been hit by a mini tornado and everything that wasn’t destroyed was buried in mud and water; all in a day’s work for Phil.

Those kids are nineteen and twentyone now, and while some might think they are a natural fit to work in the family business, Phil and Linda feel it is better for them to see the world and find their own way. “The greatest job is one where you get paid to do what you love. Then it does not seem like work at all. If Ben decides he wants my job when I am ready to retire then so be it. For now they need to get out in the world and discover their own dreams.”

Phil and Linda are also thankful for other family members that have helped along the way. Though not directly involved in the business, both Linda and Phil’s parents and siblings have helped out at one time or another. Gary (Linda’s dad) and Ralph (Phil’s father) both enjoyed time together driving all over the province doing pick-ups and deliveries for HB Cycle. When Ralph was in his twilight years he always looked forward to a road trip with Gary.

family-photos-2Phil’s brother Rick and his wife Jan live in Nanaimo BC. Every summer they lock their house up and move to Ontario to help with the summer season. Usually Phil’s first indication that they have arrived is Rick’s Tilly hat going by the window pushing a lawnmower! Phil’s sister, Sue, and brother in law, Eric, reside in Ottawa but were involved in helping pay for Phil’s schooling and then providing the much needed start-up cash to get the business under way.

A small army of friends including Dean and Gail Britton, Barry Cassels, Amanda Newton, Lindsay Thornton and Sheri Bates also help HB at special events, and Phil’s cousin Mike Donnelly also appears out of nowhere everytime there is a show to be done or something to be delivered.

“Our families were awesome. In the beginning they believed in us even when we had second thoughts. They knew we would make it and they offered whatever they had to help. I know my sister will have a tear in her eye when she reads this because she is so proud of her baby brother.”

Linda and Phil also feel like they have family in their many longterm employees. “Not only have we watched our kids grow up, we have watched as life has progressed for our staff too. We try to cover for each other so everyone can make their Christmas concerts, soccer games, and, of course, their kid’s races.”

phil-50th-birthday-with-sister-susan-hallSometimes the way we measure success is that we have provided jobs and helped put food on people’s tables for twenty-five years. Our hope is the company we built keeps on giving back to our families and the families of our staff for years to come.

“So proud of you! You and Linda make a great team. You dream big and the stars shine on every thing you do. Congratulations to my amazing youngest brother!”
-Susan Hall

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