Hill’s Fun Cycles Makes a Lasting Impression in Downtown Ted Buss Column
Eddie Hill’s legacy of winning state and national racing titles in top-level motorcycles, dragboats, dragsters and roadsters spanning nine decades has been well documented in recent weeks.
However, there’s the commercial side of the man who opened Eddie Hill’s Fun Cycles in downtown Wichita Falls in 1966.
And now, after 55 years, it ranks as one of the oldest local stores in town.
It is also the oldest Honda and Kawasaki dealership in Texas. Its immaculate showroom floor at 401 N Scott is stocked with everything from two to four wheelers, designed to satisfy all skill levels in motorcycles or utility vehicles.
Hill’s industrial engineering degree at Texas A&M helped him design and build vehicles, but it had little to do with his qualification as a start-up business owner.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Small Business Administration (SBA) might see it as an anomaly in the world of commerce.
Before getting into the statistical reality of the low odds of success for start-ups, Eddie’s philosophy led him to challenge the odds of long-term business success.
“At the start we didn’t make a lot of money to win a race,” he said. “Sometimes they would pay you a little if you had to walk a long distance, but I needed to make a living and that’s when I started a business.”
Success comes down to quality products, service, and relationship building, but the X factor for Eddie and his staff unfolds without emotional counterfeiting.
“We treat people the way we want to be treated,” Hill said. “And as a result, we have fourth generation customers and a number of loyal customers.
“We have a great staff (over 20 employees) who work hard to meet a client’s needs,” he added. Many enthusiasts of motorcycles or commercial vehicles climb the ranks thanks to the experience and recommendations of professionals.
Being proud to live where you work is an unwritten criterion for successful professional and personal relationships. It is an ethic that does not necessarily stand out in a commercial formula.
“We are proud of Texas and proud to live in Wichita Falls,” he added. “We like the attitude here; the way people respect and care about each other.
We love our low crime rate, our music, our sense of family and our churches. As far as our business goes, Ercie and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Although it has advocated developing a business plan through a local chapter of the SBA, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that two out of three small businesses will last two years and about the last. half will come to five.
Yes, maintaining capital during lean years and a solid business plan are important, but never underestimate the value of a genuine, timeless commitment.
It is a rare commodity that shines through.
Ted buss is a former business and sports editor at TRN and author of three books.