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Compassionate Bail Bonds Business

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

By Louis Llovio | TIMES-DISPATCH COLUMNIST

When you think about compassionate professions, chances are the bail bonds industry isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

Brothers Richard and Kent Jennings Brockwell want to change that.

The Brockwells started Hacksaw Bail Bonds this spring. They work out of a second-story office on Hull Street in Richmond's Manchester area.

They call themselves compassionate bail bondsmen.

"Our job is to get people out of jail," Kent said. "But we also want to help them get back on their feet."

Their main profession, of course, is helping people come up with the money needed to bail someone out of jail.

They usually collect 10 percent of the bail amount upfront as their fee and then put up a promissory note to the court for the entire bail amount. Once the case has gone through the system, the promissory note is voided.

The only time they have to pay the full amount to the courts is if the person doesn't appear at a court hearing, Kent said.

The brothers say their service is different because of how they deal with a person just released from jail.

They have set up partnerships with several area employment agencies, counseling centers and drug-treatment programs where they refer their clients.

"We're trying to do right by the people who are in the worst situation imaginable," Kent said. "Why wouldn't we?"

Beyond helping clients get jobs or get treatment for drugs and alcohol, they also bring a cold bottle of water when picking someone up at the jailhouse and, at times, giving newly released prisoners rides home.

As part of their agreement, the person who was let out needs to check in once a week, giving the brothers a chance to see how clients are doing and provide any guidance they can, Richard said.

Kent said they were raised in the kind of family that made it a priority to help people in need.

"It's just who we are," he said. "And we're taking who we are and making it what we do."

Hacksaw is the brothers' first foray into the bail business.

The idea to open a bail bonds company came from Richard, who knew several funeral directors moonlighting in the bail business. They had an opportunity for office space when a friend opened a law practice, and the brothers decided the time was right.

They spent several months getting licensed and opened for business in May.

The brothers say their work experience is a benefit to Hacksaw.

Kent is a former journalist who was a copywriter at Circuit City before losing his job when the company collapsed last year.

He handles the marketing for Hacksaw, including reaching out to potential clients via the Web and through social media. He also leaves fliers in places where people have a propensity to get in trouble, such as bars, large events and near universities.

Richard is a former funeral director who works in the insurance industry.

"I spent 25 years meeting with families and helping them through the [burial] process," he said. "You need a similar skill set [to be a bail bondsman]. It's emotional. Families want to do anything they can to get their loved ones buried or out of jail."

Short Pump Gap

The Gap is coming to Short Pump Town Center.

The San Francisco-based apparel retailer will open in the space previously occupied by home furnishings retailer West Elm. The space is near the Orvis Co. store and The Cheesecake Factory.

The Gap store is expected to open this fall and will include Gap Kids and Baby Gap.

West Elm, a furniture retailer owned by Williams-Sonoma, closed in January.

New Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A's newest Richmond-area stand-alone location opens Thursday.

The Henrico County restaurant will be on Parham Road, near Quioccasin Road, next to the Ridge Shopping Center. The Chick-fil-A took over the lot of a former Hardee's, which shut down in December.

The 4,287-square-foot restaurant seats 100 and will employ about 65.

As is Chick-fil-A's tradition, 100 adults waiting in line when the restaurant opens at 6 a.m. will win a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals.

Once the new location opens, the Atlanta-based chain will have 18 restaurants in the Richmond area, including 10 free-standing ones.

Southpark Sephora

J.C. Penney has opened a Sephora cosmetics boutique inside its recently renovated Southpark Mall store in Colonial Heights.

The 1,500-square-foot boutique opened Friday.

This is the department store chain's third Sephora in the Richmond area. The others are at the chain's stores in the Chesterfield Towne Center in Chesterfield County and at the Shops at White Oak Village.

J.C. Penney has 105 Sephora boutiques since the retailer began opening them in its stores in 2006.

McGeorge changes

McGeorge Car Co. is renovating its David R. McGeorge Mercedes-Benz dealership on West Broad Street.

The work is costing McGeorge about $1.2 million and was mandated by the German carmaker, which is working to create a unified look among its dealers.

Among the changes are a larger showroom with a new entrance as well as new flooring and doors. The service department will have new toolboxes and workbenches for its employees.

The work is expected to be finished in mid-September.

Nick Scola, a spokesman for McGeorge, said the dealer group wants to wrap up the project in time for its 50th anniversary celebration scheduled for Oct. 4.

Mercedes-Benz of Richmond, McGeorge's store on Midlothian Turnpike, also will be renovated, though appreciably less than the Henrico store. That project is set to begin this year.

Read Full Richmond Times-Dispatch Article

When you think about compassionate professions, chances are the bail bonds industry isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

Brothers Richard and Kent Jennings Brockwell want to change that.

The Brockwells started Hacksaw Bail Bonds this spring. They work out of a second-story office on Hull Street in Richmond's Manchester area.

They call themselves compassionate bail bondsmen.

"Our job is to get people out of jail," Kent said. "But we also want to help them get back on their feet."

Their main profession, of course, is helping people come up with the money needed to bail someone out of jail.

They usually collect 10 percent of the bail amount upfront as their fee and then put up a promissory note to the court for the entire bail amount. Once the case has gone through the system, the promissory note is voided.

The only time they have to pay the full amount to the courts is if the person doesn't appear at a court hearing, Kent said.

The brothers say their service is different because of how they deal with a person just released from jail.

They have set up partnerships with several area employment agencies, counseling centers and drug-treatment programs where they refer their clients.

"We're trying to do right by the people who are in the worst situation imaginable," Kent said. "Why wouldn't we?"

Beyond helping clients get jobs or get treatment for drugs and alcohol, they also bring a cold bottle of water when picking someone up at the jailhouse and, at times, giving newly released prisoners rides home.

As part of their agreement, the person who was let out needs to check in once a week, giving the brothers a chance to see how clients are doing and provide any guidance they can, Richard said.

Kent said they were raised in the kind of family that made it a priority to help people in need.

"It's just who we are," he said. "And we're taking who we are and making it what we do."

Hacksaw is the brothers' first foray into the bail business.

The idea to open a bail bonds company came from Richard, who knew several funeral directors moonlighting in the bail business. They had an opportunity for office space when a friend opened a law practice, and the brothers decided the time was right.

They spent several months getting licensed and opened for business in May.

The brothers say their work experience is a benefit to Hacksaw.

Kent is a former journalist who was a copywriter at Circuit City before losing his job when the company collapsed last year.

He handles the marketing for Hacksaw, including reaching out to potential clients via the Web and through social media. He also leaves fliers in places where people have a propensity to get in trouble, such as bars, large events and near universities.

Richard is a former funeral director who works in the insurance industry.

"I spent 25 years meeting with families and helping them through the [burial] process," he said. "You need a similar skill set [to be a bail bondsman]. It's emotional. Families want to do anything they can to get their loved ones buried or out of jail."

Short Pump Gap

The Gap is coming to Short Pump Town Center.

The San Francisco-based apparel retailer will open in the space previously occupied by home furnishings retailer West Elm. The space is near the Orvis Co. store and The Cheesecake Factory.

The Gap store is expected to open this fall and will include Gap Kids and Baby Gap.

West Elm, a furniture retailer owned by Williams-Sonoma, closed in January.

New Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A's newest Richmond-area stand-alone location opens Thursday.

The Henrico County restaurant will be on Parham Road, near Quioccasin Road, next to the Ridge Shopping Center. The Chick-fil-A took over the lot of a former Hardee's, which shut down in December.

The 4,287-square-foot restaurant seats 100 and will employ about 65.

As is Chick-fil-A's tradition, 100 adults waiting in line when the restaurant opens at 6 a.m. will win a one-year supply of free Chick-fil-A meals.

Once the new location opens, the Atlanta-based chain will have 18 restaurants in the Richmond area, including 10 free-standing ones.

Southpark Sephora

J.C. Penney has opened a Sephora cosmetics boutique inside its recently renovated Southpark Mall store in Colonial Heights.

The 1,500-square-foot boutique opened Friday.

This is the department store chain's third Sephora in the Richmond area. The others are at the chain's stores in the Chesterfield Towne Center in Chesterfield County and at the Shops at White Oak Village.

J.C. Penney has 105 Sephora boutiques since the retailer began opening them in its stores in 2006.

McGeorge changes

McGeorge Car Co. is renovating its David R. McGeorge Mercedes-Benz dealership on West Broad Street.

The work is costing McGeorge about $1.2 million and was mandated by the German carmaker, which is working to create a unified look among its dealers.

Among the changes are a larger showroom with a new entrance as well as new flooring and doors. The service department will have new toolboxes and workbenches for its employees.

The work is expected to be finished in mid-September.

Nick Scola, a spokesman for McGeorge, said the dealer group wants to wrap up the project in time for its 50th anniversary celebration scheduled for Oct. 4.

Mercedes-Benz of Richmond, McGeorge's store on Midlothian Turnpike, also will be renovated, though appreciably less than the Henrico store. That project is set to begin this year.