We met up with Jamie at the headquarters of Fast Eddie Racewear and Choko Authentics. She is the VP Operations, Sales & Marketing for both Fast Eddie and Choko. She is also Co-Owner and Founder of Fast Eddie, along with Tony Paton. Jamie Hakonson is a woman of many talents and responsibilities. She comes by it honestly, being born and raised in a unique family of entrepreneurs that has tentacles into all sorts of related industries.
On the side, Jamie is the Team Manager for EHR’s (Ed Hakonson Racing) Team 3 Orange, that competes in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. Her husband, Jay Hathaway, is the driver. He and his crew were preparing to leave that day for a race in Trois Rivières, QC. She asked if we wanted to see the car before it got loaded. We did. A short drive to the family homestead on Aurora Rd. brought us to EHR’s headquarters. Jay and the team were busily preparing for the race.
We had Jamie pose for a photo in front of the car. Jamie was due to have a baby two days after press time of September’s OTR; she has never looked so good or happy. Jay came in 6th place in that race, but later made an incredible come from behind win in Nova Scotia and celebrated his 10th career win in the series.
Jamie has been around racetracks since she was two years old, as her father, Ed Hakonson, loves motorsports. The original family home and business headquarters for Choko Authentics was at Kennedy and Stouffville Roads, roughly where the Springvale Church’s parking lot exists today. Choko began with making and distributing low pressure tire gauges, and later introduced custom snowmobile suits. Jamie started helping the company at the age of five, filing paperwork and answering the phone. She was the eldest of four kids and had a lot of responsibilities.
She attended Stouffville High and worked summers for the family company – folding shirts, prepping for trade shows and filing. Weekends were devoted to racing where she organized the day and the guys, and recorded stats and times. She met Jay Hathaway at the track when she was 16. Jay is from Southwest Ontario and she admired his skill. She later suggested that Ed recruit him as a driver. Ed did, and Jay has been with him since 2006.
Choko continued to evolve as a company. The offices moved out of the home and into 82 Sandiford, behind where McDonalds is located. Her mother started a side company there named Stitchco that specialized in embroidery. As a sideline, the family opened a motorsports themed restaurant that her Aunt Debby ran where the Wishing Well Health Centre is currently located. Choko began providing apparel for the automotive racing scene, and the ‘Big 3’ auto makers of GM, Chrysler and Ford. Choko also creates, designs and distributes apparel for Snap- On, Kubota, and Case IH, and own their own brands, including Tool Crazy and Farmers Feed Families.
By the end of high school Jamie felt she had enough practical knowledge, so she went off to university to “get the theory”. She came back from Brock University with a Bachelor’s in Business with Honours in Marketing and a second degree in Sports and Exercise Management. Upon returning, Jamie partnered with Tony Paton and her sister, Jessica, to create Fast Eddie Racewear. Fast Eddie initially focused on crew uniforms, fire suits, gloves and boots. They were designing apparel with pencils and crayons, and faxing designs to be manufactured in Toronto. “We had tiny offices and were selling to our friends,” said Jamie. “But we couldn’t rely on friends alone, so we started licensing brands like Choko to grow the business.” OK Tire has been with Fast Eddie for 14 years. Fast Eddie later picked up Mitsubishi and Mazda. They also work with teams, businesses, charities, and special events producing custom apparel. Three years ago, Jamie married Jay Hathaway. They built a house next to Ed’s on Aurora Rd., as did her sister. Jamie’s brother Brad is a builder – he built both houses and the Choko headquarters. Jamie has her hands in a lot of things and excels at all of them. She has had the right mix of being raised by an entrepreneurial family and having practical work experience from the ground up, backed by theoretical knowledge gained in education. She’s beyond fast and furious.