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Thread: Lee Valley purchasing Ron Hock Tools

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Lee Valley purchasing Ron Hock Tools

    This morning I received an email from Ron Hock that Lee Valley has purchased his company. While I respect and appreciate Rob Leeís commitment to quality and customer service, I am nevertheless saddened by this development. Donít get me wrong; Ron has been at it for more than 40 years and is more than entitled to wind down, dispense with the daily hassles of running a business, and enjoy other pursuits in a well-earned retirement. But another small (and for me, local) unique tool company being absorbed by a much larger distant operation makes me wonder about the future viability of niche tool companies producing high end products. How often does the owner answer the phone to discuss a product or issue or return your call when you leave a message? How many companies are still around where you are encouraged to drop in and have a leisurely chat with the owner? Iíll miss those things and I know I wonít be the only one.
    Last edited by Stephen Rosenthal; 01-17-2023 at 4:10 PM. Reason: Fix mysterious and prolific typos not of my doing

  2. #2
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    Apr 2021
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    Just think of it as making room for a new small company to get started

  3. #3
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    Mar 2016
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    Florida
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    The flip side, after 40 years, is that some small business owners simply shut the door and cease operations. Sometimes there just are not other “small business” buyers with cash available. At least it was a reputable company like Lee Valley that bought them as opposed to the types that have been buying up tool companies and offshoring all the production with cheaper materials. With lee Valley, based on their other products, there is a strong chance they keep the quality in tact to continue to offer the products to customers. Given their current high quality Veritas line, maybe this helps provide tooling to meet demand on other products. Who knows. I’m just happy to see a good new owner buy it as opposed to it ending up like all the others that have gone from USA made, to Taiwan made, to now China made.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2007
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    Michiana
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    2,735
    I'm a repeat Ron Hock customer and have never been disappointed. I'm also a repeat Rob Lee customer and have never been disappointed. I'm hopeful Lee Valley will maintain the same breadth of product offering. Ron's email suggested that the products and branding will remain the same. Perhaps Lee Valley will operate the Hock side as a separate business unit and supplier to the Lee Valley catalog? I'd hate for the Hock products to simply be absorbed and lost in the huge pool that is Lee Valley.

    However it shakes out, I'm wishing both Ron and Rob the best going forward. As someone who sees retirement fast approaching, I get where Ron is coming from.
    Last edited by Rob Luter; 01-17-2023 at 4:01 PM.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  5. #5
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    As someone who is now routinely wishing long-term colleagues well wishes for their retirements, as well as a repeated customer of Ron's. I'm happy that Ron has found a buyer that meets his needs for both money, and I'm sure his business goals. I hope he finds retirement well. I think I need to go find my copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, it's been decades since I read it.
    ~mike

    happy in my mud hut

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    MT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rosenthal View Post
    This morning I received an email from Ron Hock that Lee Valley has purchased his company. While I respect and appreciate Rob Leeís commitment to quality and customer service, I am nevertheless saddened by this development. Donít get me wrong; Ron has been at it for more than 40 years and is more than entitled to wind down, dispense with the daily hassles of running a business, and enjoy other pursuits in a well-earned retirement. But another small (and for me, local) unique tool company being absorbed by a much larger distant operation makes me wonder about the future viability of niche tool companies producing high end products. How often does the owner answer the phone to discuss a product or issue or return your call when you leave a message? How many companies are still around where you are encouraged to drop in and have a leisurely chat with the owner? Iíll miss those things and I know I wonít be the only one.
    Not to make light of Ron Hock's contributions to our craft - but it could be worse. I got a letter two days ago from an insurance agent letting me know our long time agent had retired and this guy from a different town was now our new agent. No correspondence from the retiring agent just this letter. Really?

    Not meaning to hijack the thread - I would echo the comment that Ron put some thought into it and passed on his work to a reputable company, as well as communicating the change.

    Bummer though...
    Regards,

    Kris

  7. #7
    If you have to retire and have your company boughtÖ. I canít think of a better buyer in this market

  8. #8
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    Feb 2004
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    Perth, Australia
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    8,875
    It would not surprise me if this was a gesture by Rob Lee to show appreciation to Ron Hock for his years of service and passion for the woodworking community. What if, after 40 years of effort and now wanting to retire, Ron could not find a buyer for his business? These are not the best of times finance wise. Lee Valley have a solid reputation and really do not "need" the name to sell blades. Lee Valley/Veritas have a reputation for protecting small North American woodworking businesses. This is a win-win - they can benefit from Ron's name and goodwill, and Ron gets to have a well-deserved retirement.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  9. #9
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    Thanks for letting us know.
    Years ago I bought some carving knives. One had a small problem and when I called he immediately sent out a replacement. Excellent knives and excellent service.

    JKJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Rosenthal View Post
    This morning I received an email from Ron Hock that Lee Valley has purchased his company. While I respect and appreciate Rob Leeís commitment to quality and customer service, I am nevertheless saddened by this development. Donít get me wrong; Ron has been at it for more than 40 years and is more than entitled to wind down, dispense with the daily hassles of running a business, and enjoy other pursuits in a well-earned retirement. But another small (and for me, local) unique tool company being absorbed by a much larger distant operation makes me wonder about the future viability of niche tool companies producing high end products. How often does the owner answer the phone to discuss a product or issue or return your call when you leave a message? How many companies are still around where you are encouraged to drop in and have a leisurely chat with the owner? Iíll miss those things and I know I wonít be the only one.

  10. #10
    I read this as an important development. The biz continues. LV will do good with the name. Operations may change overtime as the biz climate changes but the name exist.

  11. #11
    Hi -

    One of the challenges any proprietorship or family business faces is succession planning - what do you if the next generation does not want to continue? It's something we all have to address, if we want to retire...

    The most important important thing to any of us is the protection of the family name, and reputation. Who better to understand that than another family business? Then too - there has been a personal relationship that goes back decades, and an understanding of the principles and values the business embodies.

    I don't think of this as buying a business, but as assuming responsibility for the future of the brand, and the continuation of Ron and Linda's legacy.

    I will also note that we are doing the same thing for Beall Tools - I have just returned from Ohio where I spent two great days with the Bealls, and being familiarized with the inner working of their business as well (It's been a busy month!). There, too, we have had a very close family connection for more than 40 years.

    Neither of these firms are strangers to us - we have carried and supported their products for many decades, and intend to continue doing so for many more!

    Cheers -

    Rob

  12. #12
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    Feb 2003
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    Hayes, Virginia
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    14,529
    I have been a Beale Tool customer for a very long time. It's good to know that Lee Valley will continue the Beale Tool line of products and support their existing customers.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    West Simsbury, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Lee View Post

    I don't think of this as buying a business, but as assuming responsibility for the future of the brand, and the continuation of Ron and Linda's legacy.

    Cheers -

    Rob
    Stewardship:
    Ēthe responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.Ē

    Thanks, Rob, well done.

    Kevin

  14. #14
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    Feb 2014
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    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
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    Maybe we can get round top block plane irons now???

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    1,165
    Well done Rob. I will continue to support both the Veritas and Hock brands.

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