As my dad struggled to find another way to continue the shipwreck recovery business, he continued running the Mall of Maine website company. Help was about to come from an unlikely and surprising source! They just had to keep pushing on a little longer.
In early 1997, it was very common for me to accompany my mother on her Mall of Maine meetings. As I explained in my last post, the Mall of Maine was a joint effort between both of my parents. While my mom met with potential clients and explained the services to them, my dad would create the websites should they decide they wanted one. My mom was very good at this job, as she is friendly, helpful and warm around people. She instantly made clients feel at ease and explained things in a way that made it simple to see how a website could benefit their business. Other than this, she was a stay-at-home mom, and we were very close and spent a lot of time together. Since I was only nine, I would go with her to many of her meetings.
I remember a few of these meetings very clearly. I remember going to the Sea View Motel in Old Orchard Beach. They had a big sunny deck with a swimming pool and a large meeting room that overlooked this area. I sat by myself quietly and read, and went for a walk to the pool. I was well-behaved and shy as a child so the clients never seemed to mind that I was there. On another occasion, I went with my mom to A-1 Lockbox, a locksmith business run by my dad’s friend Pete Wallace. The shop was connected to their house and that’s where the meeting was held. Pete and his wife had two parrots who could speak. I remember telling the parrots that it was my birthday that weekend. The birds then sang “Happy Birthday” to me in their warbly parrot voices.
I also happened to be with my mom when she first went to La-Z-Boy Furniture in Scarborough, Maine to meet with John and Lois Hardy (shown in picture – a more recent photo from 2009). While the national La-Z-Boy corporation already had a website, they wanted their own page for their specific store hours and phone number to be displayed. I remember walking through the store and sitting in every single chair to test them all out. John and Lois thought it was funny that I was trying all their chairs out. Lois was very kindhearted and instantly got along with my mom. John was a little quieter, but he was very nice and wanted to know all about the website and what the Mall of Maine could offer. While they were talking, my mom started sharing a bit about my dad and his previous business. John was fascinated by this and told my mom a bit about his past and how he had been the chief engineer for the design of the NASA Apollo spacesuit.
They agreed to work with Mall of Maine and have a website made, and signed the necessary contract to do so. As my mom and I were walking out, something came over her and she turned to me and said “We’ve got to go back in there!” We went back and my mom told John and Lois, “I know this is strange, but I just feel like you need to meet my husband Greg.”
Thanks to this “chance” meeting, the company that would come to be known as Sub Sea Research was on its way into existence.