Go downtown, Jo GOJO Industries, a firm steeped in history, is moving to an historic area.
The company that makes hand care and hand cleaning products, will keep its plant in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, but is moving its corporate headquarters into the former Michelin North America headquarters in nearby downtown Akron.
How the company got its name has interesting ties to Akron's heritage, as well. In 1946 a rubber worker named Goldie Lippman, who toiled at the old Miller Rubber Co. making life rafts, couldn't clean the carbon black from her hands. So her husband, Jerome Lippman, invented a waterless hand cleaner that eventually was used in some of the city's tire and rubber manufacturing plants.
Joe Kanfer, GOJO's president who is a nephew of the Lippmans, recently told journalists he recalled the distinctive odor of the hand cleaning formula as his uncle cooked up batches in the house, then took it to area factories to sell. But why the name GOJO? He explained thusly:
Wanting a catchy phrase to describe the product, Jerry used the first two letters of his wife's name, and originally called it ``GoGo.'' Unfortunately, someone already had a trademark for that name and it would have cost him $500 to buy it out. ``Nobody had that much money lying around in '46,'' Mr. Kanfer noted, ``so Jerry just changed the `G' to a `J'—which his name began with—pasted it over the second `G' on the containers he was selling, and `GOJO' was born!''
As Paul Harvey says: And now you know the rest of the story.
The following incident really happened. None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. We think it's about time these tire men got their just due.
Last December pharmacist David Katz in Beverly, Mass., told police a thug had come into the North Beverly Pharmacy demanding a supply of Vicodan, a prescription pain killer. According to The Evening News in Salem, Mass., Mr. Katz recognized the guy from an earlier robbery, and told him he never restocked from the last time he robbed him. Mr. Katz then ran outside and yelled to workers across the street at Hogan Tire Co. that he was being robbed.
Hogan employees Scott Rosnick, Antonio Ascenso, and a third man who wished to remain anonymous, ended up chasing and tackling the robber, holding him down until the cops arrived.
``I think the good guys finally won one,'' Mr. Rosnick told the newspaper.
Sgt. Joe Friday would have been proud.
Odds 'n ends
After we mentioned spotting a tractor trailer bearing the name G.O.D., Paul Murray, with the ad agency J. Walter Thompson, pointed out to us that he regularly sees trucks with ``M.S. Carriers'' on their sides travelling the Ohio Turnpike. ``When I first saw one of these semis,'' Paul e-mailed us, ``I wondered why anyone would want to advertise that they were transporting a disease.''
Well, Paul, they say ad guys can sell anything if it's cleverly packaged and marketed.
``Who was A.J. Heinz, and what was his first variety?''
Certified marketing consultant Dick Morgan asked that question to retreaders and commercial dealers during a marketing seminar at the International Tire and Rubber Association's recent conference in Louisville, Ky.
If you answered ``catsup,'' you're wrong. Eight-year-old A.J. began selling horseradish from a pushcart around town.
``Can you imagine anything harder to sell—besides retreading—than horseradish?'' Mr. Morgan quipped.
To the public relations folks at Hayes Wheels International Inc. in Romulus, Mich.: Thought we'd seen practically every possible butchering of our surname, until a recent news release arrived from your company. Sorry, no cigar.
It was addressed to ``Cranes'' TIRE BUSINESS—better make that Crain's on your Rolodex—and was sent to the attention of ``Sigmin Michaelackih.''
Please see the end of Marketplace for a more reasonable spelling of that. Or just send the next release to ``Hey, you.'' We're just as comfortable answering to that.
Tired of the tire business and looking to get into some other line of work? Then Info Franchise News Inc.'s The Franchise Annual Directory may have some possibilities—4,120 of them.
New listings include Gigglebees—pizza delivered by robots (you figure that one out; do they drive as fast as the Domino's people?)—and the Grout Grouch, a ceramic tile repair business that about sums up how a lot of guys feel when their better half says, ``Honey, the grout in the bathroom needs replacing.''
There's also Paceco Franchise Service, billed as ``own your own loan company.'' We presume you must supply your own ``muscle'' to make collections.
Reading the fine print
It's every sporty page reader's nightmare: a tire advertisement with hundreds of tiny-type tire sizes and prices. Tire Kingdom ran one in the March 23 Orlando Sentinel, but tried to use it to the dealership's advantage.
The top of the ad said: ``We have the most tires, the best prices, the best service people, and the most convenient locations in town.'' At the bottom, after a blur of info, it suggested: ``If you don't believe us, take a few hours to read our ad.''
No thanks. We'd rather watch paint dry.
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk
E-mail to: [email protected]