BRESLAU, ON – In the photo to the right, Bob Breadner Jr., is 30 years old; his father, Bob Sr., is in his early 50s.
The picture was taken earlier this week, in the offices of the freshly relaunched Breadner Trailer Sales, just east of Kitchener, Ont.
Their most recent business coup – rebranding a 50-year-old family firm and re-igniting the same spark that trademarked the original corporation – is significant in itself. It is a statement of optimism.
But the very fact that they can appear together in this photograph borders on the miraculous.
In 1999, when Breadner Sr., was 44 and Bobby just 13, Dad was at the top of his game as president of Breadner Trailer Sales (BTS).
His late father, Vern, had started BTS in 1965 but had passed away. Bob persevered and grew the company into a Canada-wide trailer leasing and dealership, and it was a fleet-hold name known coast to coast.
So successful was Breadner that in 1996, he was named Ontario’s Entrepreneur of the Year. For several years running, Breadner Trailer Sales was named one of Canada’s 50 best privately managed companies.
In 1999, he was flying high. He even owned and flew a Beechcraft King Air 100.
In March that year, he and young Bobby were flying into Muskoka and, for reasons that have never been understood, crashed into the woods.
Father and son were rushed to different hospitals.
Bobby was treated at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and his father, who suffered life-threatening injuries, spent months convalescing at nearby St. Michael’s.
The scars on Bob Sr.’s leg are reminders of the trauma.
After recovering, Breadner stepped away from his successful enterprise, selling most of it to Wabash Trailer Sales, but keeping a small leasing operation afloat.
A few years later, it was back to work.
“I found out that I was much better at selling trailers than I was at golf,” he laughs.
A much-abbreviated version of the company, Trailers Canada, replaced Breadner Trailers in 2004, and with partner Conny Weyers, Breadner helped Trailers Canada blossom and grow.
Weyers retired this past Christmas.
Also, in the meantime, Bobby graduated with an MBA, worked in various enterprises across Canada and – surprise, surprise – earned his private pilot licence.
And so it was, last week, that father and son announced to the industry and the staff that they are, in fact, back.
As Breadner Trailer Sales.
Young Bob is vice president, sales and operations.
The Breadners ooze confidence: They’re sure that the Canadian trucking industry still associates trailers with the Breadner name. And Breadner Sr. says the relaunch corresponds to a very marked consolidation movement in the Canadian trucking industry.
So he feels the Breadner Trailers, under a logo almost identical to the one his father Vern designed a half a century ago, is in an ideal position to celebrate its 50th anniversary and move into the future under generation number-three, in their freshly repainted headquarters, adjacent to – you guessed it – the Kitchener-Waterloo Regional Airport.
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