Happy Anniversary to our country this Fourth of July, and to Germinder & Associates as our parent company celebrates our 13th year. We’ve introduced a new logo this year and happy to report we are still going strong.
It was on July 1st thirteen years ago – 1998 — that Germinder & Associates, Inc. was officially formed, but my journey in the pet business started even earlier.
Germinder started with a product launch campaign for the former Fort Dodge Animal Health company. I had been vice president of an agency handling several animal health accounts, also including Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and Veterinary Pet Insurance, and decided it was time to strike out on my own.
But much earlier than that, like many now in the pet side of the business, I started in what those in the know fondly call “the fish business,” a.k.a. supplying aquatic fish for hobbyist fish tanks and ponds. At the ripe old age of twelve, I worked in the office of my late stepfather Constantino Frank “Dino” Barbarisi and my mom Beth’s aquatic import/export business. I and my four brothers did everything from helping clean the fish tanks (Piranha anyone?) to making the runs to the airport to even a few fish deliveries.
The H.H. Backer Christmas Trade Show in Chicago was my very first trade show while I was still in college. When I graduated college, I was away from the family business for several years as I worked on dozens of national brands from AT&T to Unilever, and with celebrities and athletes, including my favorite, Bo Jackson with Cramer Products.
The pet business still beckoned. I returned once again when my then 18-year-old brother Matthew asked me to help him with an interview by former editor Ed Taylor for Tropical Fish Hobbyist. That article helped launch Matt’s business and the hydroponic aquatic plant business here in the United States. I went on to handle his advertising & marketing along with handling a host of other clients. I also worked with the New York branch office of Ornamental Fish International, at the time a London-based trade group.
As we celebrate the Fourth, it seems fitting with these reminisces that my family and I will embark on a boating expedition with that same brother and his fiancé. While the memories are precious, the present is great and the future remains bright. Enjoy your Fourth too!
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