(Bradley’s Insurance Stittsville locations. Photo: Front Page Media Group)
The name Bradley is a long-time familiar name in our town of Stittsville. Albeit there are different arms to the Bradley clan, most of us older residents either know, grew up with or are related to many of the family members. Having said that, and being fortunate to grow up with and be related to some, it saddens me to learn that Bradley’s Insurance has been sold. It has been one of Stittsville’s institutions for 63 years. In my mind, this cornerstone of our community deserves a commemoration worthy of the dedication and support for the years of devoted service and charity Bradley’s has shown our residents over the years.
It all started back in 1956, when Silas Bradley was seeking a new challenge after retiring from dairy farming. This new chapter in his life would see him founding Bradley’s Insurance and working from a rented one-room property on Main Street. Silas was well-known and greatly respected for his hard work in our community — having been an elected officer for the Hazeldean Loyal Orange Lodge No. 246; Chairman of the South Carleton School Board; Master of the Hazeldean Masonic Lodge; elected Warden of St. Thomas Anglican Church; Justice of the Peace for Carleton County; and a charter member of the Stittsville and District Lion’s Club. He also served as Reeve for eight years when Stittsville became incorporated in 1961. So you see, Silas was not just any dairy farmer, he was smart and extremely involved in our community — always in leadership roles.
(The original Bradley’s team – Silas on left and Sid on the right. Photo: Bradley’s Insurance web site)
Silas’ son Sid joined his father at Bradley’s Insurance in 1959. With politics playing an interest in Silas’ life, he passed the business to his son Sid who took over the reins and grew the business. Sid in a lot ways followed in his father’s footsteps. He, too, was always looking for a challenge. He is a chartered member of the Stittsville and District Lion’s Club. His interest in and ownership of race horses brought much activity to his life in earlier years and to the Bradley farm. He started a real estate company and was an enthusiastic outdoorsman being a member of the Lake St. Patrick Hunting and Fishing Club for several decades. Sid has always been community-minded and through Bradley’s Insurance could always be counted on to support many local sports teams, charities, service organizations, special events and golf tournaments. He played on the local hockey teams and spent hours playing 18 holes at the local golf club.
Sid and I were reminiscing Saturday about the business and other changes in Stittsville and I asked him how he felt about the sale, “sad, but it is time to sell”. “It has grown to several branches and a larger staff from Renfrew to Ottawa’s east, Quebec and eastern Ontario that Ross (his son) is managing, but he (Ross) is ready for retirement — well has other business interests”. Whoa, not Ross – retire?! Ross took over from Sid by purchasing the business in 1998 and was instrumental in branching the business out to the various locales in the Ottawa Valley, further east and beyond. He is the third-generation of the family to enter into the business. There is a fourth-generation too, Ross’ son Branden, joined the business to follow in the footsteps of his Dad, Granddad, and Great-Granddad.
(L to R: Ross, Branden and Sid Bradley. Photo: Bradley’s Insurance web site)
I mentioned to Sid about their famous Wawanesa calendar from the 1950’s and 1960’s. He laughed, “boy we mailed them out to all of Stittsville back in the day and god help us if we forgot five or six families on our list — we would definitely hear about it!” ‘Back in the day’ everyone in Stittsville was insured with Bradley’s who sold Wawanesa insurance at the time. I know my parents always looked forward to receiving ‘the calendar’!
The business has been sold to BrokerLink as of September 1 — one of the largest insurance brokers in Canada and established in 1991. In a press release from BrokerLink, Ross expressed, “This is a key strategic partnership for us. It allows our office to have access to even broader resources and insurance products while assisting and advising our loyal clients with our same dedicated broker team” said Ross Bradley, president of Bradley’s Insurance”. Ross also sent a personal note to all of his loyal customers, past and present, thanking them for ‘their patronage over the past six decades’. He also thanked his employees for ‘the work and dedication which has contributed to our success’.
Sid assured me, “that he is staying on for … about another five years”. He will not always be in the office – you know, golf days – but will be there to consult and provide his sage advice. Ross will be staying on for about a month or so to ensure a smooth transition. “As well as the Bradley’s Insurance name remaining, all of the current staff are staying so you will see no changes there”, added Sid.
When I think back to all that not only Bradley’s Insurance has done for our community, but Silas, Sid and Ross too, it may not be quite the same without their presence.
I think if I read Sid’s face correctly, it is a bittersweet time for him as well.