Monday, January 19, 2009

All in the Family

In 1968 Phyllis and Ed Hart, my Mom and Dad purchased Rideau. They took out a second mortgage on our home and had $1,000 of working capital. With four young children at home, my parents risked everything and laid the foundations for the company we have today. Read about the Rideau history here.

In 1978, my sister Rosanne, brothers Stephen, Robby, best friend Cam Ferguson and I purchased Rideau from my Mom and Dad.

At the time, most of our spouses worked in the business and we were told we needed a partnership agreement.

So the five of us went off to see our lawyer who worked for a large legal firm. He told us in no uncertain terms that our partnership would be lucky to last six months! In his opinion, we had too much family in the business!

Needless to say, his firm is long gone and when we have family gatherings we always have a chuckle at his expense!

Today, only my brother Stephen and I remain in the business. Robby who was a silent partner sold his shares in 2001 (his wife Laura is still active in the business). My sister Rosanne retired in 2003 and our best friend Cam retired last year… right now he is en route to New Zealand for four months!

The point of this post is twofold…

First, I know the economy is bleak and the outlook is dim. However, when I think back to what my folks did, they inspire me to believe that courage, creativity and hard work will see us all through better times.

Secondly, if I'm proud of one thing, it is that in good times and bad, we always put relationships first. Not only amongst our family, but with our employees, suppliers and clients. This is the essence of recognition.

I think this is why Rideau has been so successful… we preach what we have always practiced for so many years!