Runner-up: Small Business Person of the Year Featured

9:56am EDT July 22, 2002

Gary Bumgarner, vice president and general manager of Moore’s PBE Inc., a refinish distributor which supplies paint to Three-C

“[He’s] very innovative, very customer-driven, very intelligent and ... very shrewd. I don’t mean that in an underhanded way; he’s just very conscious of costs and what it takes to make it go in this industry.

“For a long time, I’d have said he’s an overachiever, but I think he’s got that more in line now. ... I think he’s perceived as an A-type personality with a strong belief in advertising. He puts a face with what he does. A lot of people in this industry have good ideas, but they sort of hoard ’em in. He puts ’em out in front of everybody.

“He doesn’t come at my company with directives. He comes to me with ideas and asks how it’s going to impact my business ... which is refreshing from a vendor’s standpoint.

“He’s a day-to-day man. He’s there from morning to night. You can catch him there in a suit; you can catch him there in blue jeans. He’s in the face of his customers and his employees. He’s not a silent-type owner. He’s very hands-on. ... I think he’d admit to you he’s tried a lot of things that haven’t been successful, but instead of lingering on them, he’s moved on. Some people are very slow to react to making a wrong decision. I think he acts on those things quickly.”

Roger Geiger, state executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio

“As an outsider observing what he’s done, he truly has the reputation of being the David that’s fighting the Goliath. ... In terms of an organization that likes to see members become active, he clearly is one that can be used as a model. ... I don’t know anyone else who has taken a cause like he has and taken it to the airwaves and made it part of his marketing strategy. If other small- to medium-size companies or even corporate America started to do some of the things he’s doing, Wow! Talk about being able to create some really positive synergies out there.

“My perception is very positive. I doubt if I went to a group of insurance folks that they would speak highly of him, but a lot of folks, particularly in the small business community, can empathize. They get caught in the loop of selective contracting — a medical provider having the same problem with the health insurance industry, a small retailer having a gripe with Coke or Pepsi over exclusive contracting issues. My sense is there are a lot of different folks, not just collision repair people, who are probably saying, ‘Go for it, Bob!’

“I think business owners need to put their money where their mouths are and he’s certainly done that.”

Cris Gillespie, past president of the Kiwanis Club of Columbus, which named Juniper as honorary chairman for its 1998 charity duck races

“Bob worked with us very nicely. A lot of times when you get a ‘name’ person to be part of an event like that, you don’t get lot of access, but Bob was very helpful. We were raising money for a summer reading program for children and we asked Bob to lend his name and himself as a spokesperson for our event. ... He seemed to really get behind the project. ... I truly believe he had an interest in our cause. He was not just in there to get his name out, although I suppose that didn’t hurt. ... I’m just always glad to see someone with a business, who seems obviously in it to make a buck, give something back to the community.”

Cheryl L. Grossman, Mayor of Grove City, where Juniper resides

“I think he has taken some pretty big challenges and has been successful. ... I marvel at his accomplishments there and I can appreciate the time it takes. ... We’re very proud that he’s chosen Grove City as his home and I’m very happy for his success.”