A TIME OF mourning and celebration for the Johnsons
Peninsula Living was lucky enough to be present at Hitchcock Park for an Avalon Bulldogs A-grade rugby league match recently. We weren't there because of the game, but because of what took place prior to it. Both the Bulldogs and North Sydney Brothers teams lined up side by side so the club could pay homage to one of its favourite sons - the late John Johnson.
A representative from the Bulldogs talked about how the Johnsons' support of the club had been unwavering for more than 40 years - even pointing out that the grandstand itself was supplied by the family.
He talked about how the brothers had received Lifetime Achievement Awards and listed every family member and extended family member that had run out in the red that had run out in the red and green.
By the time the minute of silence for John had turned into stirring applause, there was no doubting what this family means to the peninsula community.
This month, the business that John and Bob Johnson built from the ground up will celebrate its 60th birthday, and the family will use the occasion to honour the founders.
John's sons Robert and Michael, who have been running the hardware enterprise since the ‘80s, could not be prouder of their entrepreneurial forebears.
"It's pretty incredible what they achieved,” Michael tells Peninsula Living.
"We're proud that we've been able to carry it on for them and keep the business in the family," Robert adds.
“To be reaching 60 years is special for all of us... there wouldn't be too many local businesses that have been going that long.”
According to Michael the success and longevity of the hardware business, which now has sites at Avalon, Mona Vale and Narrabeen, can be attributed to its family values and community spirit.
"It really is a family business. At the moment we've got 13 family members working here full-time and another eight as casual/part-time staff,” he says.
"And family is the reason we're so heavily involved in the community. As you can imagine, with such a large family, we participated in a lot of clubs like sailing football soccer and surf clubs, so it's important that we give back because the business has recieved so much support and loyalty from the community.
Grandson of John Johnson and the company's marketing manager, James Johnson, says his "pop" would've wanted them to celebrate.
"August 2 marks 60 years and we’ll be doing a birthday celebrations event. We're still working on what the sale will entail, but we're going to have a bit of a party at all our stores to say thank you to the community that's kept us open this long," he reveals.
"It's been sad losing pop this year, but he was always extremely proud of the business that he and his brother built.
"He always enjoyed a party and he certainly never said no to a bit of cake, so I‘d imagine we're going to have to get a pretty big birthday cake.”