Ron Joyce: Entrepreneur And Tim Horton’s Donut King

Ron Joyce is undoubtedly one of Canada’s favourite sons. He is honoured throughout the country as a result of his business and philanthropic efforts, as well as being one of the best known entrepreneurs. Ron Joyce founded Tim Hortons with the now legendary Mr. Horton. However, the success of the brand was undoubtedly down to Joyce.

The Young Ron Joyce

Ron Joyce was born in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia in 1930. This was also where he spent the majority of his childhood. In fact, Joyce had never been out of the area until enlisting in the Royal Canadian Navy when he reached the age of 21. Rather than fighting, Joyce preferred to use his talents in his chosen field of communications, which took him to Korea and Japan in 1954. Although he enjoyed his service, after getting out in 1956 the entrepreneur chose to pursue a completely different challenge.

Ron Joyce invested in a Dairy Queen franchise in Hamilton, Ontario, which was a little down the street from Tim Horton’s donut store. The Dairy Queen prospered and Joyce displayed a flair for business, thus showing his entrepreneurial skills. Of course, Horton, who was a close friend by then, saw this for himself and asked Joyce if he would like to go into business. With that, the donut king was born and Joyce was the first franchisee.

The Donut King

Joyce and Horton were relatively successful in their new business venture but the partnership was cut incredibly short owing to the untimely death of Horton in a car accident. As his widow was not business minded, she agreed to sell her share of the venture to the entrepreneur. Joyce was determined to make a success of it and retained the name of the store as a tribute to Horton. Little did he know then that his determination to make Tim Hortons a success would make him a multi-millionaire.

The entrepreneur followed the original plan that he and Horton had conceived of franchising the business out. During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, branches were established throughout Canada. The profits were pouring in and were also better than Joyce hoped, but his business planning had been extremely strong. His entrepreneurial business sense had transformed a small store into a huge chain.

During the 1990s, Joyce received an offer for the chain. Another entrepreneur, Danny Murphy, owned a Wendy’s franchise and wished to combine the two entities into one store in Montaque. Intrigued by the idea, Joyce met fellow entrepreneur Dave Thomas (the founder of Wendy’s) and Murphy to discuss the possibility. Instead of leading to one combined outlet, it turned into a mutual, if loose, partnership between Wendy’s and Tim Hortons. It was an extremely profitable partnership and the two eventually merged, thus making the successful entrepreneur the single largest shareholder in the business.

The Entrepreneur Retires

Joyce chose to retire after the merging of Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s. He had made more than enough money to be able to do so and hand the running of the business empire that he had built up to his son and daughter-in-law. She was actually the daughter of Tim Horton and thus re-established the partnership between the families.

Instead of making business decisions, Joyce has concentrated on philanthropy in recent years. He has received numerous awards from the province of Ontario and from Canada as a whole on account of his services to the business world. In return, the entrepreneur has donated millions to educational facilities and universities and has also founded the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation to help disadvantaged children get the start in life that they deserve. As such, not only is Ron Joyce a truly great entrepreneur but is also an amazing man.

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