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.
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.