Meet the Characters

"Does a Plumber Need a Web Site?" features eight hypothetical case studies of a cross-section of small and midsize businesses. The companies--and colorful personalities--profiled are:

Blown Gaskets logo

Blown Gaskets, Inc.,
a Business-To-Business Manufacturer

Founded 1948, Blown Gaskets, Inc. is a Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky-based rubber gasket manufacturer. They specialize in molded rubber, extruded rubber, die-cut rubber, and lathe-cut rubber parts. You want rubber, they got it. They serve various markets including appliance, automotive, and construction manufacturers.

Harry O. Ring Harry O. Ring, VP of Marketing

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Problematic Solutions logo

Problematic Solutions,
a Business-To-Business Service Provider

Based in Gnaw Bone, Indiana, Problematic Solutions is a Web-hosting company that grew from two seemingly hamster-powered servers in a garage to a large enterprise with more than 120,000 customers throughout North America. They offer several tiers of service for any size business, from large corporations to individuals and sole proprietors. By providing a robust technological base, reasonable pricing, and non-patronizing technical and customer support, Problematic Solutions is able to offer customers an unbeatable value and guaranteed 99% uptime.

HTML Howard Thomas Michael Lovell, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

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Harry's Hair Logo

Harry's Hair Emporium,
a Retail Business

Harry's Hair Emporium is a Toad Lick, Arkansas-based hair salon. Harriett "Harry" Delvecchio has owned the salon for more than three decades. The salon is located in a well-traveled strip mall on a main drag, and Harry rents out five chairs to independent stylists. Although she has moved five times in 30 years, it has never been more than a mile at a time. At 75, Harry is still a top stylist, still chain smokes Pall Malls, and has a voice that could sand the paint off a sailboat.

Harriet Delvecchio Harriet "Harry" Delvecchio, owner

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Alas, Pour Yorick logo

Alas, Pour Yorick,
a Sports Bar/Alehouse

Alas, Pour Yorick is a Stratford-Upon-Hudson, New York, sports bar, pub, and alehouse that offers more than fifty beers, from large national brands to local microbrews. The bar serves a mix of different types of pub food, from fish and chips, to buffalo wings, to burgers. Owner Phil DeBeers opened Alas, Pour Yorick in the 1990s and it has quickly become a popular hotspot, especially for watching major sporting events.

Phil DeBeers Phil DeBeers, proprietor

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Le Gros Ventre logo

Le Gros Ventre,
an Upscale Restaurant

Based in the appetizingly named Belchertown, Massachusetts, Mimi Du Jour's Le Gros Ventre has been a local favorite for more than 30 years, and has traditionally been highly rated in Zagat and other popular travel guides. Le Gros Ventre has evolved from traditional French fare, and is known for its immense serving sizes, with one reviewer making reference to "a soufflé the size of a throw pillow."

Mimi Du Jour Mimi Di Jour, owner

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D. Rain Logo

D. Rain & Sons,
a Professional Service Provider

D. Rain & Sons is a Flushing, New York-based plumber. Claude Rain is the sole proprietor, and although he occasionally subcontracts to one or two colleagues, he does most jobs himself. The company was founded by his father Derek (1927–2003) and Claude and his brother Archibald were for two decades the company's only employees. (Archibald was killed in a freak plumbing accident in 1991.) Claude's own two sons are 9 and 13, the elder poised to enter the business, flush with youthful enthusiasm and an aversion to belts.

Claude Rain Claude Rain, owner/master plumber

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Fang Logo

Ferris Fang,
a Medical Service Provider

Ferris Fang, D.D.S., is a dentist located in Bicuspid Plains, Iowa. His practice includes him and his wife Phyllis (also a D.D.S.), two hygienists, and a receptionist. He has a small but regular roster of patients, but could always use more. Getting new clients for Dr. Fang was always like pulling tee-- well, you know.

Ferris Fang Ferris Fang, D.D.S.

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Jim's Gym Logo

Jim's Gym,
a Health and Fitness Center

Founded in 2003 and located in Apeman, Indiana, owner Gregory Pec has struggled with waxing and waning interest in health and fitness. The town of Apeman boasts the highest obesity rate east of the Mississippi, which Pec has seen as both a challenge and an opportunity.

Gregory Pec Gregory Pec, owner, who is never "too tired" for a workout

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And watching over all these characters is...

The Man in the Chair

Man in the Chair

The Man in the Chair is the "star" of a classic 1958 ad for McGraw-Hill magazines that still appears in marketing textbooks. This is the face of any business' customer, and the text of the ad that accompanies dour-looking "Chairy" are to this day useful for outlining a communications strategy:

Back in 1958, the number of media channels available for marketers was staggeringly limited. With the explosion in digital media we have seen for the past 20 years, addressing Chairy's concerns has become ever-more complicated. How have our eight business owners managed to adapt?

Image ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Reproduced with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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