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Joe Tatulli Part 2
The Flotation Era
"Some friends of mine came back from a trip to California with this thing they called a waterbed. It was a vinyl bag with a valve to put the water in." Glasser told his friends they were nuts but they convinced him to try it and he put a few waterbeds in his store. When he said okay Glasser had made one of those decisions you make along the way, and it would be a life changing one.
"All I can say is WOW! We were buying these bags for nineteen dollars and selling them for a hundred bucks apiece. College professors, students, the entire academic community were buying these things. The seventies were the counter culture era and waterbed was the product of the seventies," said Glasser. "We sold thousands and thousands of them."
It was during that time that Glasser met a frame manufacturer who convinced him to build a box for the bag and also to put a liner in the box. "He convinced me that these bags were a time bomb waiting to explode. So we began to sell boards so people could make the boxes for their waterbeds," Glasser said.
Within a very short time, using the same marketing strategy he had employed with his other store, Glasser carved out a dominant market share in the Hartford area. He opened his own woodworking plant and changed the name of his company from Neptune to Nimbus.
"In 1974 we took the company public. We were the first in the waterbed industry to do that," said Glasser. The Dow was at 400. The IPO had raised several million dollars and Glasser opened a big factory and had eleven stores. "There was a time back then when anything I touched turned to gold. It was an incredible time," he said.
During the next few years Glasser's fortune had its ups and downs. Like many of his peers in the waterbed business there were boom years, and there were the regrets. Glasser's experience ran the gamut from starry eyed wealth to losing it all. "My experience during that time has seasoned me," said Glasser. He told me he has always understood what it took to make money, and now he understands what it takes to keep it.
A New Life
I was sitting in the Glasser's kitchen, it was early morning of my second day in Tampa. Linda Glasser was making us breakfast. Another day in the Glasser household had begun. Stu and Linda work together in different segments of the same business.
"I met Stuart when I was brokering real estate. He was looking for a place to live and I was moving houses, condos and apartments. Stu asked me for a date. I said I didn't date my clients, but Stu was persistent." She begins to whip up some scrambled eggs and then pours me a cup of coffee. Stu is in his home office making a few calls. "He called me one day and said he wanted to take me out for dinner. I said no. He called back about two minutes later and said 'How about if we meet at the restaurant and we each buy our own food. No obligations that way,' he said. He made me laugh. We went out that night and we've been together ever since," she said. That was six years ago.
Linda comes from a strong sales and marketing background as well. It was a match made in heaven.
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