Taylor Bigley has built his business, Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire, over the last 20+ years. It is now a family operation with both of his brothers and his wife involved. Charlie is in sales and Harry works in Northern Virginia. Bigley’s wife, Joanna, is with him in the Oyster Point office, handling human relations with her office right next to his.
“My mother instilled a strong work ethic in my brothers and me,” says Bigley. “Her standards were rigorous. Even today we decide and choose new products by asking, ‘Would mom like it?’”
Bigley became an authorized dealer of Invisible Fence in 1995. Awnings and canvas were added in 2000. His main competitor was Hogshire in Norfolk. When Russell Hogshire died in 2010, Bigley was able to buy that business. “It was an important addition to our operation, because the company had an excellent reputation in Norfolk,” says Bigley. Since Hogshire was a long-established company, the name was kept and the company slogan was changed to “More than a Shade Better since 1898.”
The business is proud of its quality work, using only American-made products. About half of the business is commercial, keeping the company busy year-round. “The residential half is mostly summertime sales,” says Bigley.
The awning business serves the area from Richmond to Virginia Beach and includes the Eastern Shore. “We have done special projects in Washington D.C. and shipped to them,” says Bigley.
Bigley graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, where he met his wife. They were married in 1998. They have a 17-year-old daughter and a son in middle school.
When asked about hobbies, Bigley says,”There’s not much opportunity for leisure when you are running a small business. It’s like having a third child.” He is vice president of Tidewater Pet Services and he coaches middle school lacrosse. “I played lacrosse in college,” Bigley says. “It’s actually a Native American sport and is very physical.”
Bigley belongs to the Newport News Rotary Club. Serving on the Newport News Education Foundation, Bigley says, “I am a cheerleader for Newport News Public Schools.” He is involved in fundraising and procuring grants.
“I enjoy dove hunting,” says Bigley. He has a Labrador dog. “I sold my boat, so I had to give up fishing,” he adds.
“I do work long hours,” he says. “I stay in the office until all my crews come in.” Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire employs 20 people. “I have dinner with my family as often as I can. My wife and I have an agreement not to talk about work after 8 pm. She is the ideal business partner,” he adds.
The October 2018 issue of Specialty Fabrics Review, an industry magazine, featured Bigley as the “cover guy.”
Bigley is making expansion plans. “Oyster Point has been a good location for us,” he says.
TO THE POINT:
Taylor Bigley, president, Awnings by Bigley and Hogshire
Address: 716 Bluecrab Rd. Ste. A,
Newport News VA 23602