Family-run businesses are a common thing in our industry and can present some unique entrepreneurial challenges. It has been proven that only 30% of the family owned businesses make it through the second generation. At Eagle, I had the second generation in front of me and a member of the third one also (hello there Leo!) and I can confirm that Eagle Towing Equipment’s history is only starting. Let me introduce you to the Poladian family; Victor, Simon, and Simon’s son Jack.
First of all, allow me to say that interviewing three Armenians of the same family at the same time is not an easy thing to do! No, I dont speak fluent Armenian yet!
The Poladian trusted name was earned over the course of 45 years of hard work and long hours. Simon and Victor arrived in Cambridge at 18 years old, respectfully in 1972 and 1979. At first, they opened a gas station, where they did car repairs.
They got their first wrecker in 1980, a small Vulcan 1974 cradle wrecker on a Ford F350. Three years after that, in 1984, they bought their first heavy duty wrecker, a Holmes 750 and moved to their current location on Eagle Street. They were operating a towing and repair shop at the time under the name of S&V Towing. In 1987, as their business was getting bigger, they bought 4 NRC heavy wreckers. Victor told me that when they got their first wheel lift from NRC, the police and the competition in their area went crazy! They had never seen anything like it!
Simon and Victor, as many in our industry, fell in love with towing. After he got his first wrecker, Simon went to every tow show, observing and learning, as well as making contacts. He loves the vibe of these shows and likes to see what’s happening in the world of towing.
When I asked them if they miss doing towing for a living, Victor said, «Of course! I love my job, but I miss doing towing, i miss the challenge.»
At the end of the interview, they were showing me old recovery and accident pictures (they have a ton of them, more than Norbert I think!) and you could see clearly all the passion and nostalgia in their eyes.
«We used to work 24 hours, 7 days a week, sleeping at the garage. We were always the first one on the call.» (Told you, the secret to Eagle success is determination and hard work!
Tie the knot
Poladian brothers sold S&V towing in 2001 when they accepted the dealership with NRC. They had 29 units at the time, which they sold to three different companies.
With their competitor just down the street, Eagle Towing Equipment is proud to say that they can count on their strong reputation.
«With the time, everybody came to know them in our area, they built a strong reputation.», Jack says, talking about his father and uncle.
Walking through the Eagle factory, we saw a couple of employees. I asked them for how long they have been working for Simon and Victor, one has been there for 24 years and the other 7. Victor then proudly told me, “We have guys here who never missed one day of work in more than 20 years.”
So, the question is, how do you keep good, dedicated employees that long?
«Because we’re a family oriented business, we understand the true values of family and friendship, and that’s our biggest strength. We treat our employees just as if they are family. We look after them.»
As many in our industry, towing is not just a job for them, it’s a lifestyle, a passion. This passion has been passed on to Jack at a very young age.
«I’ve always loved trucks and cars, everything about them. I’ve seen the amazing things you can do with them, I love to see them work. I remember, when I was two, I used to hang out around the garage all the time. My uncle used to take me on rides and drive me to school in a tow truck.»
The Poladian brothers can rest assured that their legacy is going to be well-preserved. Jack is energetic, motivated and a truly passionate person. In the short time he has worked full time for Eagle, Jack has already developed a new website for the company, upgraded software and hardware of the computer systems, and is currently working on the reorganization of the parts store and the factory in general. He’s ambitious and his father assured me that he’s a great salesman, which promises to be interesting to see in the next years.
I asked them, what in their opinion distinguishes Eagle Towing Equipment from their competitors?
«Towing is in our blood. We’re a family business and we’ve been doing this forever. We love what we do, we’re passionate about it and it shows right through in the way we work. It’s not just a job, it’s not just a paycheck, it’s more than that. We’re trying to create the best legacy we can.»
Victor with Kirk from Baker Towing
As experienced dealers, we wanted to know what was their best argument when selling NRC products. At that moment, Simon and Victor looked at each other and laughed.
«We dont need an argument, the products sell themselves! NRC products are by far the most durable and functionnal towing equipment in the industry.»
(We love hearing it from you <3)
Eagle Towing Equipment celebrates its 25th anniversary serving as an NRC dealer this year. That’s probably why it was not easy to give me an answer when I asked what was their best memory with NRC Industries.
(S) : «The first time NRC showed the Slider, in 1991, at the Twin Towers Hotel in Orlando. Donnie Cruise was so impressed, he just couldn’t believe what was happening. Norbert looked so proud, it was nice to see.»
(J) : «I remember when I went to the NRC factory for the first time. I was 14 then and I was so impressed! After the tour of the factory, Norbert took us all to ski doo, it was awesome!»
A distribution contract is a great act of trust; you put your baby in strangers hand, and hope they turned into worthy trustable partner. That’s exactly what happened with Eagle Towing Equipment. 25 years later, they continue to impress us and exceed our standards. A 7 hour drive is not that much when it is to meet such inspiring people, 701 km is not that much when you are so well received. See you soon #nrcfamilyontario!