|A set of Gerber-12 steak knives circa 1950. |
As a present to the agency's clients, Joseph Gerber, commissioned a knife maker to create 25 sets of steak knives which were delivered at Christmas that year. The knives were such a hit that catalog retailer Abercrombie & Fitch made a big order - from Mr. Gerber and his advertising agency.
|The progression of the Gerber Legendary Blades' logo.|
Not one to miss an opportunity, Gerber immediately started Gerber Legendary Blades, and, well, the rest is history. Gerber continued to run his ad agency, and ran the cutlery company as well. By 1960, Gerber was one of the most trusted and collected names in knives, and was the second largest firm in their industry. Finally, Gerber turned the running of the ad agency over to "Duke" Wieden, father of Wieden+Kennedy advertising giant, Dan Wieden, and focused entirely on the knife company.
Today, Gerber Legendary Blades, is a part of the Finnish firm Fiskars. How large is Gerber Blades? It was always privately held until the sale to Fiskars in 1987, but a report in 2003 reported a company with over 300 employees and over $100,000,000 in sales.
Gerber advertising still exists in Portland, 102 years later, as part of Gard Strang Edwards & Aldridge since 1997. It's interesting to note that Gerber Legendary Blades current advertising agency is Sasquatch Advertising, also of Portland, and not the agency that gave them a start so many years ago.
The moral of the story is to be open to opportunity. If Gerber had said, "we're an advertising agency, we don't make knives", a solid company with a strong future would never have been built, and 300 or more families would be out of a job today.
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The Entrepreneur's Bookshelf ~
A Selection Related to this Post:The more you know about small business management and financing before you start, the more likely you are to succeed. That's why I urge anyone thinking of starting a business to contact their local Small Business Development Center or Community College. I have also organized this bookshelf for you at Powell's Books, the world's largest single site new and used bookstore, featuring the latest books on small business start-ups, marketing, and small business money management.
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