Smoke and Mirrors
By Bob Slowpants
Doug Barber grew up just north of the Classic City of Athens and attended Jackson County High School. Doug’s mother was a payroll clerk for Superior Pants, while his father excelled as a floral wholesaler. After high school, Doug enrolled at the University of Georgia, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in marketing. In the job market after graduation, a degree in marketing literally translated into a two-year assistant manager position at Walmart. Doug rotated between Walmart stores in Stone Mountain, Lawrenceville, and Athens.
Sensing Walmart was not his choice for a long-term career path, Doug accepted a sales position with
Lorillard Tobacco. Lorillard had deep inroads into southern tobacco usage with polished brands like Kool Winston, and Salem. Doug’s responsibilities eventually grew to encompass over three hundred outlets in Northeast Georgia ranging from Athens to Augusta. A good area sales manager’s reputation is intact if he can survive multiple mergers. Lorillard merged with R. J. Reynolds in 2015 and the Lorillard sales force was transitioned over to Imperial Tobacco, known as ITG Brands in the US. Doug resiliently weathered the mergers and maintained his position due to superior sales results.
The tobacco market mainstay is local convenience markets and chain fuel outlets like RaceTrac. Seeing shrinking demand for tobacco products, due to smoking health concerns, Imperial Tobacco has foreseen the future market of their tobacco products as vapor-type products such as Blu Electronic cigarettes. Cigars and vapor products are filling the vacuum of cigarette sales.
Doug began running to keep up with wife Rosie. They reside in Nicholson, GA, population 1696 on the 2010 census. Rosie and Doug were classmates in high school in the class of 1986. They went their separate ways after graduation, but reconnected years later through Facebook in 2010. They subsequently married in 2003. Keeping up with Rosie gave Doug a real incentive, as well as getting out of a small town occasionally! Doug played football in high school and rethought the exercise as Rosie become involved. Doug finished second in the 45-49 male age group in the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix Series, the Black Bag, and the Clover Glove race series in 2018. His favorite race is the Hartwell Dam race. Doug runs to stay in shape, because you never know what will happen in the tobacco market of the future. Doug can tell what a difference running has made in his appearance when he looks in the mirror. Often you will find Doug running behind Rosie to follow her shape!
Bob, checking out from the back of the pack. Watch for the March profile on Jolie Cunningham, and the April profile of politically correct Tommy Dorminy.
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