Hodgins family turns page with rebranding, Wingham celebration
BY SCOTT STEPHENSON
Hodgins Building Centre, with locations in Wingham and Lucknow, recently entered into a new partnership with Castle Building Centres, and the family-owned hardware and lumber company decided to celebrate in style, throwing an absolute hullabaloo of a shindig on Saturday, June 10.
It seemed the whole Hodgins clan was out in full force to support this new chapter in the family story. Shirts emblazoned with the phrases “Proud Uncle” and “Proud Aunt” could be seen in the giant crowd, and previous owner Rick Hodgins was available to demonstrate some of the store’s recent technological advancements.
Third-generation owners Jordan and Brock Hodgins hosted an expertly organized event that featured entertainment from wisecracking lumberjacks, all-ages archery, axe throwing and giant Velcro soccer darts, as well as a nicely curated collection of local food and beverages. Many vendors associated with the store hosted raffles and handed out free swag to guests. Prizes ranged from ranges to roof improvements. Donation boxes supporting the North Huron Community Food Share were set up in a number of high-traffic areas as well.
After entering the raffles, multitudes of attendees were ushered inside to collect lanyards loaded with tickets for free sustenance and libations. This also gave patrons a chance to check out the store’s enormous inventory.
Three food vendors proved more than capable of slaking the hunger of the crowd - one free ticket would net you one of the area’s tastiest offerings. Stopping in at Lucknow-based Grassroots Pizza’s travelling trattoria meant a fresh, wood-fired pizza with a variety of toppings. Brammy’s Food Truck proved very popular with the crowds all day - many a mouth was left smiling after mowing down one of their deluxe bacon cheeseburgers. Rounding out the spectacular snackery was a delegation from the nearby Riverview Eatery, which contributed its Ruffled Falcon Sandwich - easily one of the finest fried chicken sandwiches in Huron County, of which there is no shortage of stiff competition.
For the thirsty visitor, Neustadt Springs Brewery provided a free beer to legally-eligible patrons. Neustadt is one of the oldest operating brewery buildings in Ontario, and that experience was on full display on Saturday. Their mobile team offered a wide variety of styles to quench even the most discerning quaffers, from raspberry lager to a coffee-infused blond. For young guests and non-drinkers, soft drinks were kept flowing by attentive Hodgins employees.
So what exactly was this great party celebrating? Hodgins Building Centre has been serving the area for decades, founded by Jack Hodgins in 1961 when he opened a retail lumber yard in Wingham. Castle Building Centres is a Canadian buying group that has been in business since 1963. Hodgins, part of a competing buying group for many years, has joined forces with Castle to expand their business while remaining independent. Castle representative Lillian Diaz was on site all day. She estimated that thousands of people went through the store on Saturday, and called the event a huge success. If this party is any indication of what is to come for the future of Hodgins Building Centre, there is much to look forward to for Huron and Bruce Counties’ handiest citizens.