Ronald Vaughan Joyce, or Ron Joyce, is an extremely successful businessman from Canada. He was the first partner and franchisee of Tim Horton, the Canadian ice hockey player who founded Tim Hortons in 1964. The restaurant is the largest food service operator in Canada and is known for its coffee and doughnuts. Joyce had partnered with Horton in 1967, before assuming full control in 1974 after Horton passed away.
Joyce was only 37 years old when he became part of the fast casual restaurant, and 44 years old when he was put in charge. At 83 years old, those early heady days are indeed a generation ago.
Born in Nova Scotia, Joyce was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy where he became a communications specialist. After delisting as a sailor, he moved to Hamilton in Ontario where he became a police officer in 1956. Like many other police officers, Joyce was always in the mood for some doughnuts and coffee.
Joyce had actually bought a franchise of Dairy Queen in Hamilton, but as a police officer, he could not resist the temptation of the doughnuts and coffee. He frequented the place during his patrol rounds. Of course, the additional lure of an ice hockey player owning the place was also a reason for Joyce’s constant visit to Tim Hortons.
In 1967, three years after the establishment of the doughnut house, Horton offered Joyce a chance to franchise the restaurant in exchange for some advance rental. Joyce took the bait and became a partner. At that time, Tim Hortons was already a multi million-dollar franchise system.
About seven years later, Horton passed away in a car crash after engaging police officers in a high-speed chase. This was right after he had played a game for the Buffalo Sabres against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Joyce then took over the company in its entirety after paying $1 million to the heirs of Horton. It meant that Joyce had full control of all of Tim Hortons 40 stores. Eventually though, Horton’s daughter became a part of the business once again after marrying the son of Joyce.
To help him run the business, Joyce formed a management team and franchised out the restaurant throughout the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. In the early part of the 90’s, Danny Murphy, a holder of a franchise of both Tim Hortons and Wendy’s in Prince Edward Island, asked permission to place both restaurants under just one roof in one of the new developments in Montague. Both companies agreed, and during the opening, Joyce met Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, for the first time. The result was the beginning of an informal partnership.
The Montague combo store concept was replicated successfully in several other places. Eventually, the two companies merged with Wendy’s as the remaining entity. Joyce got shares of stock of Wendy’s in return, which made him the single biggest shareholder of Wendy’s, with his stocks eclipsing those of Thomas.
Today, Tim Hortons has over 3,000 locations all over Canada. There are also 556 Tim Hortons Doughnut Shops in the United States, mostly in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions, specifically in Michigan, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania and New York. Outside of North America, Tim Hortons can also be found in Ireland, the United Kingdom and in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. There was also a Tim Hortons shop in Afghanistan to serve the needs of those stationed at the Kandahr Canadian Military Base.
Joyce has since sold his shares in Wendy’s. Though he still sits on the board of Sobeys and Shaw Communications, and still manages Jetport Inc., he has slowed down his pace to engage in more relaxing pursuits.
He is the Chairman Emeritus of the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. He owns the Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa, a five-star and four-diamond gated resort community with its own airport. He devotes a lot of time to different charities. He also helped finance the construction of a sports stadium at McMaster University in Hamilton, as well as a business studies center in Mount Allison University.
Joyce has received honorary degrees from Mount Allison University, McMaster University and Saint Mary’s University. He is the second recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Franchise Association. He is a recipient of a Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Red Cross. He was also named Entrepreneur of the Year of Ontario and the entire Canada in 1999. He is also a member of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.
The Destination Fox Harb’r Too Yacht
Joyce also used to love boating, which was why he bought the Destination Fox Harb’r Too yacht for more than $30 million in 2008. The 49-meter luxury super yacht was built by Trinity Yachts and is considered as the poshest boat to ever sail into the Hamilton Harbor.
Joyce probably got a quick reliving his old days in the Royal Canadian Navy with the yacht. The yacht was powered by a couple of Caterpillar diesel engines with a capacity of more than 2,000 horsepower each. On a full tank of fuel, it could go up to 2,500 nautical miles with a cruising speed of around 17 knots.
Sailing Off into the Sunset
Joyce has decided to sell off his luxury yacht for only $19.9 million, a huge 33 percent hit from his purchase price of five years ago. Experts were shocked because boats do not depreciate that fast, even in a bad economy. As a matter of fact, boats of that size do not really depreciate; this is because it only caters to the richest segment of the market, making it recession-proof.
The yacht is available for charter rental vacations for $230,000 per week. It was actually placed on the market as early as two years ago for $29.5 million. It was lowered to $24.5 million, before it was tagged for just $19.9 million in August 2013.
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