Promises Made, Promises Kept
1986 seems like just yesterday; watching “Ferris Bueller” and “ALF,” listening to Madonna and Prince. Mark Harmon was the sexiest man and Mike Tyson was the youngest champion ever in boxing. Me? I was looking for a job. I got one with Gold Eagle to create the first line for a new industry called, among many names, the quick lube industry. The line was called Golden Touch, and the best product was an oil system cleaner.
The test market was Chicago. I had a pager and looked for the luxury of drive-up pay phones. I drove up and down Chicagoland looking for opportunity. Past AOCA president Frank Bomher was my first sale, quickly followed by Brian Jacklow, Randy Brittain, Dennis Krezminski and a few other progressive folks. Oil system cleaner sold for $4.99, and fuel system pour-in was $7.99. I sucked as a salesman and sales sucked accordingly.
I received a publication that had recently started and my eyes were opened to National Oil & Lube News. There was a meeting promoted for a group called NAIL to be held in Las Vegas. I talked my boss into sending me; no trade show, just educational meetings. I saw one about removing sludge conducted by Larry Dahl. I learned so much and waited to meet with him and tell him about my product. He was selling 30 percent of his car count at $15 and paying just $.99 a can. I was selling 3 percent at $4.99 and charged about $2 per bottle.
Some time passed and I was told that Gold Eagle had had enough. They were pulling the plug on this failed program. That same morning, I got a phone call from Mr. Dahl and a 50-case order from California! I caught my boss just before the plug-pulling meeting and my life was changed forever.
When I think back on the history of oil system cleaner, I don’t see a bottle of chemicals. I think of tens-of-millions of cars made cleaner, some businesses saved with the profits made and jobs saved-mine! I think about National Oil & Lube News and Larry Dahl. I think about Steve Hurt. Thank you Steve.
Update: Larry is still doing 30 percent at $20; are you? Brian and Randy were at the latest AOCA show, and NOLN had two booths. All is still going strong!
Now where is my VHS tape of “Top Gun?”