Clearwater Character Fall 05 creative mind. He could look at a plug in the wall and redesign it.” Porraro said he was always creative and able to design and market products. As a fourth-grade student living in Pompano Beach, Fla., he found green marbles that were going to be thrown away at a glass factory. He filled his book bag with the marbles and then sold each marble for a quarter to students at school. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, he started his first company by creating novelty roses that he sold in local stores. Eventually, the novelty roses went national, he said. With the success of his business, Porraro then turned his eyes to Cracker Barrel stores and became Cracker Barrel’s American Toy Designer, where he designed and sold to the restaurant chain old fashioned toys, like pop guns, jump ropes, wooden shavers, spinners and the flip and catch. Having connections to Cracker Barrel, he first pitched Grandma's Secret Spot Remover®. Cracker Barrel asked him to send samples to put in the break room to “test drive” the product. If staff liked it, Cracker Barrel would place an order. The test was a success, and Cracker Barrel placed the very first order for Grandma's Secret Spot Remover®. Business was thriving when the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, impacted the country and businesses throughout the nation, including Porraro’s. The Cracker Barrel account slowed down, and Porraro was left searching for new clients. A few years passed when unexpectedly he received a phone call from a Gainesville quilter who had purchased one of the original bottles of Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover® at a Cracker Barrel. She encouraged him to promote the product to quilters and sewers, who were prone to prick their fingers and bleed on the material they were working on. The woman from Gainesville told him that Grandma’s Secret Products® had saved many of her quilts. With her encouragement, Porraro headed to the 2004 International Quilt Market and Festival in Houston where he was able to sell Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover® to all of the quilting distributors in the country. Porraro was back in business. With the wind at his back, he successfully turned his attention to the craft and hardware industries. Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover® has continued to thrive and grow ever since. Porraro employs six people in his office. Indirectly, he employs around 100, including distributors and chemists. “I didn’t plan on any of this,” Porraro said. “The plan was to feed myself and make a living. That’s all.” “It’s satisfying,” he said. “I really like that people love it as much as they do. It (the business) is still evolving. I have many more household products to share with people, some of which are starting to be produced.” “Clearwater is not only my home but the home of Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover®,” said Porraro, who is on the Clearwater Air Park Advisory Board and graduated from the Clearwater Citizens Academy in 2011. “It has been magic living here. It is the best place. I love this place. It’s so beautiful. I feel like I’m on vacation every day.” To learn more about Grandma's Secret Products®, visit GrandmasSecretProducts.com.
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