Sunday, March 28, 2010

Always Fresh - Tim Hortons Story

I read a great book by Ron Joyce with Robert Thompson called Always Fresh, the untold story of Tim Horton's by the Man Who Created a Canadian Empire (thanks Russ). I found the book particularly interesting for me since I know Ron Joyce. I met him at a dinner at Frank Hasenfratz. I also have flown on one of his private jets (although he was not on it when I was flying on it).

I also know Robert Thompson, who is one of the great Canadian business writers. He used to write for the computer trade press then moved on to the National Post. I've always found him to be a great reporter. I was interested to see that he had written this book.

Being Canadian I'm very familiar with Tim Horton's and the success of the chain, even though I don't actually drink coffee. I drink their steeped tea which I thought was a funny way of putting it since I wasn't sure there was any way to make tea except by steeping it.

I like reading the stories of business success, especially one like this since Ron Joyce basically started from nothing, growing up in a small town in the Maritimes, moving to Hamilton where he was a policeman (is there some irony that a policeman would become successful in the doughnut business?).

As I was reading the book I saw that Ron was an innovator, always pushing the edges and trying new things. I think that's one of the critical things in entrepreneurship. Like I always say Fail Often. Fail Fast. Fail Cheap, which I'm sure Ron would agree with.

The book told of his unsuccessful attempt to get an NHL team in Hamilton. This seems to be a recurring theme with the NHL.

I was inspied by the high growth and passion I could feel from Ron about the business.

My brother Lyle actually worked in one of the Tim Horton's camps for a summer or two. I do think Tim Horton's camps provide a good service to underprivideged children and Ron is clearly a huge driver behind that.

Despite loving the business and its success, I am too much of a health guy to get passionate about donuts and coffee. Now vitamins...


At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Robert Thompson said...

Jim: Thanks for the nice remarks. Working with Ron on the book was a fascinating experience. Trust you are well and many thanks for the mention.


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