By Darron Kloster, Times ColonistOctober 1, 2009
Jim Becker says he will spend time with his grandchildren while mapping out retirement plans.
A family business that has spanned three generations and more than seven decades came to an end yesterday in Saanich.
Alf Becker & Son, which started as a chainsaw business and expanded to lawnmowers and other outdoor power equipment, is closing and being rebranded next week by a Ladner-based company.
Jim Becker, whose grandfather Ira sharpened the family's early reputation with saw shops downtown and services in coastal logging camps during the 1930s, said the time was right to sell and retire.
His father opened Alf Becker & Son in 1949 and Jim worked with him on and off until taking over in 1968. Becker partnered with Al Gledhill in 1978 and both will retire with the sale.
The company, which still focused about a third of its business on chainsaw sales and servicing until yesterday, has been on Enterprise Crescent in Saanich for 22 years after moving from Alf's initial location on Tillicum Road, now a condominium site.
"I'm 67 and I got a lot of things in life I want to do," said Becker, adding he will enjoy spending time with his six grandchildren while mapping out his retirement plans.
He's sold the equipment sales and servicing business to Cary Martin's Lawn and Garden Equipment. The company will reopen under the new banner on Monday and has plans to open satellite shops in Langford and Oak Bay within a year.
No financial details were disclosed, but all seven of Becker's remaining staff have been retained.
Jim Becker said both his three children and Gledhill's two offspring pursued other careers, so a business hand-off was not in the cards.
Martin, meanwhile, said he has big plans to expand and spruce up the existing business.
He will be adding more product lines and increasing business hours. He said the company will also improve service turnover times to 24 hours from drop-off.
Cary said he will also introduce a janitorial equipment-servicing department to bridge revenues during the slower winter months.
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