President, Meguiars, Inc.
Barry Meguiar represents
the third generation of the company his grandfather founded in
1901. For Barry, working at Meguiar's started during his grade
school years, working summers replacing production employees when
they went on vacation.
In high school, he began working part-time year round in
accounting, becoming the one-man accounting department during his
college years. Meguiar's gross sales were $600,000 per year, with
most of the 12 employees being family members.
Upon graduation from college, Barry and his wife Karen moved to
Detroit to look after Meguiar's relations with GM, Ford, and
Chrysler and to manage Meguiar's sales in the eastern third of the
United States. Only in a family business could someone so young be
exposed to such challenging sales opportunities.
While Meguiar's was exclusively viewed by the family as a
professional brand for the car makers, car dealers, body shops and
detailers, Barry saw a big opportunity looming in the consumer
marketplace. Having grown up in the Southern California car
culture, Barry was drawn to car shows all over the country. To his
surprise, he kept finding that Meguiar's No. 7 Sealer and Reseal
Glaze were being used by all of the top show car exhibitors.
Eventually, it became apparent that most custom car painters were
using Meguiar's products because of their unique ability to remove
swirl marks and keep fine paint finishes looking brilliant. This
led to a family meeting in 1969 where Barry received approval to
take Meguiar's into the consumer marketplace. His goal was to
create a new brand of Meguiar's products aimed specifically at car
guys. After four years of preparations, formulations, and various
package designs, the very first consumer product, Meguiar's Liquid
Cleaner Wax was launched at the 1973 APAA Show in Chicago.
At the time, automotive enthusiasts had no recognition among the
"mass retailers" who controlled the marketplace. Undaunted, Barry's
relentless passion and work ethic eventually led to retailer after
retailer, featuring Meguiar's Cleaner Wax on their shelves. The
rest is history with the average retailer showcasing 40 to 50
separate Meguiar's products on its shelves.
Without any funds for advertising, but determined to earn the
respect of one enthusiast at a time, Barry took his products and
his passion to car shows. It was the ultimate grassroots program
which grew into an international marketing strategy. It was a
strategy that paid off, and today, Meguiar's "men in black" can be
found at almost every major car show across the country, and around
the world, each weekend.
By the mid 1990's, there was growing concern that the car hobby
might all but disappear. Car clubs and car shows were falling on
bad times with an aging population. To counter this trend, Barry
created Car Crazy Radio and Car Crazy Television to unite and
mobilize car guys globally, with the goal of promoting and growing
the car hobby. Special emphasis was placed on handing the passion
for the hobby down to the next generation.
Car Crazy TV is now the longest running show on the SPEED TV and
is viewed globally via the Internet and broadcast television. More
importantly, regardless of economic fluctuations and for a variety
of reasons, the car hobby has been experiencing explosive growth
over the last ten years.
For Barry and for everyone at Meguiar's who share his passion, a
great foundation has been built for the most exciting days, which
always lie ahead.