It was with sadness that I learned this morning of the death of Ronald A. Bradshaw, Sr., who passed away at his home at the age of 78. I first met Ron in 1989 when I was starting a career as a franchise owner, and I purchased five Little Caesars restaurants from him in 1990. Over the years Ron Bradshaw provided me with a great deal of wise advice on business and life, and this unassuming man touched the lives of thousands of people in the Toledo area.
I spent a decade trying to scratch out a living as a restaurant owner before getting out of the business and going back to school. Ron, however, survived and thrived in the business for 39 years, and he was always willing to learn and adapt to the changing business climate. Ron recognized the power of computers as a tool in the retail pizza business long before many of his contemporaries, and he actually convinced me - a techie and someone thirty years his junior - to take the plunge and invest in point-of-sale systems in my restaurants.
One of Ron's most endearing qualities was his diplomacy and tact. He refrained from speaking poorly of other people, even when they deserved (in my opinion) the full wrath of the Almighty. Ron was a positive and upbeat business owner who never let a sales slump or business crisis kill his enthusiasm for the pizza business. He even opened a new store in the last few years at the age of 74, an age when most folks are kicking back and relaxing.
Since leaving the pizza business, I did not stay in contact with Ron, though every once in a while I considered looking him up and stopping in for a conversation. Unfortunately I did not follow up on this idea, and I thus never took the opportunity to thank Ron for his advice and friendship over the years. So this is a belated "thank you" to a kindhearted man who took me under his metaphorical wing and who tried to pass along some wisdom to me. I did not always take his advice, but I suspect that if I had listened more to Ron Bradshaw, I would be wealthier and wiser today.
My condolences go out to Ron's family as they grieve the loss of a truly fine human being and a hardworking businessman.