The former CEO of Huffy Corp., who worked for the locally-based bicycle company for 25 years, died Wednesday.
Bill Smith retired at the end of 2018 after the leading the company for eight years.
“Bill served as a true steward of the Huffy brand throughout his 25-year tenure, including his outstanding leadership for more than eight years as President and CEO. Following his retirement in late 2018 from his leadership roles, Bill continued as a board member and advisor. Bill was respected for his passionate support of the cycling industry, his natural ability to connect with others, and his devotion to his family,” the company said in a statement.
Smith could recite the details of the 127-year-old company’s long history as one of Dayton’s oldest businesses.
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The Davis Sewing Machine Co., Huffy’s predecessor, moved from New York to Dayton in 1892 before the manufacturer found its stride as a bicycle maker in the 1930s.
Smith had been marketing chief, president of Huffy Bicycle Co. and chief merchandising officer of Huffy Corp., among other roles.
Last summer, after the company moved to its new home in Miami Twp. on Gander Creek Drive, Smith said the company was evolving to stay ahead of a changing market, as brick-and-mortar retail shopping habits change, families get smaller and children play outside less.
While at the helm, Smith helped Huffy adapt to a changing world and launch new initiatives to fit into an e-commerce environment.
He said that while the company kept a low profile after its bankruptcy in 2005, the brand was growing, hiring and innovating.
“We feel we are carrying on the Huffman legacy,” Smith said at the time, referring to the company’s founding family. “There is a history to this company that is tangible. And it’s local. And it resonates with people.”
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