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Marsh & Moore, a manufacturers’ representative agency based out of St. Augustine, Fla., is celebrating 50 years in the rep business. “We have come a long way since my father, Mark Marsh, started this business in 1972 working out of a duplex home in Jacksonville Beach,” notes Jennifer Rodriguez, executive vice president of Marsh & Moore. “We are so proud of what he, David Moore and Richard Bohl created and feel blessed that we get to carry on their legacy in this incredible industry.”
Marsh & Moore has come a long way since its founding in 1972 as a one-man agency. Mark Marsh announced his decision to go into the rep business at only 22 years of age — with no experience, no financial backing and no lines to represent. In 1973, he convinced a college friend, David Moore, to join the agency as a partner, as well as his father, Jim Marsh.
A former regional sales manager for AMF Cuno, Jim Marsh served as a mentor to his son and Moore, showing them the ropes of the industry. Jim Marsh continued to play a key role in the agency until his retirement in 1985.
As Marsh & Moore grew through the years, Mark Marsh and Moore realized they needed additional help in Florida; in 1994, Richard Bohl became the third owner within the agency. Moore eventually retired in 2006. Mark Marsh and Bohl continued running the agency; when their children graduated from college, they joined the family business.
Mark Marsh and Bohl retired in 2020, turning over ownership to their children: Garrett Bohl, Jennifer Rodriguez and Jonathan Marsh.
But don’t let the nepotism fool you; Garrett Bohl, Rodriguez and Jonathan Marsh all started at the bottom and worked their way up through the agency. Their fathers were big advocates of having their heirs learn every position within the business.
“We all have done every job at Marsh & Moore, from sweeping floors, pulling and shipping orders in the warehouse, inventory, customer service, inside sales, bookkeeping, payroll, outside sales and so on,” Rodriguez explains. “You don’t have to be an expert, but it is imperative to have a good working knowledge in every position that takes place in your agency.”
Hands-On Sales Pitches
Today, Marsh & Moore continues to be family-owned and -operated, led by Garrett Bohl, president; Rodriguez; and Jonathan Marsh, vice president. The agency’s territory covers Florida through Tallahassee and cuts off west of the Apalachicola River.
The rep firm has nine outside sales representatives, six inside sales representatives and a warehouse manager. The St. Augustine corporate office gives its customers easy access to will-call pick-up from its 8,000-square-foot warehouse. Marsh & Moore houses a variety of consignment and buy-sell products; it currently represents 25 lines ranging in mechanical, commercial and residential plumbing, waterworks and the irrigation industries.
“We have made a big investment into our own demo vans and trailers,” notes Jonathan Marsh. “We find that this selling approach is a big hit with our customer base, allowing our customers to have a ‘touch-and-feel’ aspect to buying our various represented products. My father was always big on the ‘dog-and-pony show;’ he always told us when you are making a sales pitch, to have something in your hand to talk about.”
Professional development is also an important factor in maintaining a solid rep agency. Marsh & Moore’s executive team are all graduates of the Certified Professional Manufacturers Representative (CPMR) program, administered through the Institute for Professional Advancement and the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation for the Association of Independent Manufacturers Representatives.
It is a three-year course designed to educate and develop principals in the manufacturers’ representative business to manage a successful rep organization.
Not Just a Number
“We are very proud of our company culture and strive to make our agency a rewarding and fun place to work,” Garrett Bohl explains. “When you join our sales team, you become part of our work family and are never treated as just a number.”
Marsh & Moore’s average employee tenure is 15 years, with very low employee turnover. “We feel that this is a very important factor our customers like about our agency: to have a consistent relationship with our sales team through the years,” he adds. “Customers like the feeling of picking up the phone with a problem and, knowing that they have a great relationship with our sales staff, we will take care of their needs.”
The agency has made a substantial investment in “replenishing the youth in our salesforce,” Garrett Bohl says.
“Several years ago, most of our agency was more than 50 years old, and some of our older generational employees were facing retirement,” he recalls. “We knew we had to put in the work to bring in a younger generation and train them on industry and product knowledge to keep our agency thriving.”
New Branding and Marketing
The rep firm collaborated with Alicia Branham at Bran Marketing to take charge of its branding.
“We felt that after 50 years, Marsh & Moore needed a more modern look,” explains Rodriguez. “Bran Marketing has created a new logo, website (www.marshmoore.com), and marketing materials for us. We also invested in a new sales venture: social media marketing. We feel strongly that this is the way of sales in the future.”
She adds that the rep firm has “received very positive responses” from customers and represented vendors on the new look and social media sales posts that Bran Marketing has developed for us. We are currently advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn and may plan to expand our social media network this year.”
Jennifer Marsh RODRIGUEZ, CPMR, is the Executive Vice President of Marsh & Moore, Inc, and has watched the company, and its customers, grow and thrive during her 20+ years at the firm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org