Getting Personal with…Larry Gaynor

Larry Gaynor is president/founder of Nailco, a $50 million Farmington Hills, MI-based cataloger of supplies for beauty salons.

Where did you grow up? Southfield, MI.

What was your first job out of college?
I worked at my father’s Ace Hardware store in Detroit.

How did you get into the catalog business?
I had a beauty aids store, but I had to be a wholesaler to carry professional manicure products. So I started Nailco as a 16-page, black-and-white catalog in 1985.

What’s the strangest, funniest, or most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you on the job?
When I turned 40, my executive committee dug up a college photo of me, with skintight clothes and the wildest hair I ever had, and blew it up to poster size.

What foreign language did you study in high school or college?
Organic chemistry (or so it seemed!) and Spanish.

What is your secret obsession?
The Nintendo game Tetris. I have to play it every day.

What sports do you follow?
College football and basketball are tops. Go, STATE!

What’s your favorite team? MSU Spartans.

What was the first rock concert you attended?
Aerosmith in 1973. It was in a bar when they first started.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?
The Shining by Stephen King and, lately, any of the Harry Potter books.

What is your favorite movie? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Blondes, brunettes, or redheads? Brunettes.

What’s your favorite color of nail polish? Red.

What’s been your most defining moment in business?
In 1994 I promised all of our 65 employees at the time, “If you still work here when we hit $50 million in sales, you can have your choice of a new car or 50% of your salary in a bonus, up to $25,000.” At the holiday party this past December, I announced that we’d made our goal. Of the 65, 24 were still with us. For those who chose cars, I had the cars they had originally specified they would want delivered to the party as a surprise.

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