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Networking Dinner 11.29.00: Gary Hoover

Gary Hoover is the founder of Hoover's Online and BOOKSTOP Superstores. In many respects, this gifted visionary and entrepreneur has done it all. Hoover started subscribing to Fortune Magazine at the age of 12. He visited hundreds of corporate headquarters, and studied the stock market in depth, before he was 18. His question was the same, "What separates the losers from the winners?" He studied economics at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and two other Nobel Prize winners. Hoover later served as a Securities Analyst for CitiBank on Wall Street, worked as a buyer for Federated Department Stores, and headed up acquisitions and strategic planning for the giant May Department Stores.

At the age of 30, Gary took the entrepreneurial plunge in Austin, Texas and created the first book superstore, BOOKSTOP, which changed the nature of book shopping in America. This company was sold to Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million when it was 7 years old, and became the cornerstone for their industry-dominating superstore chain, which does over $3 billion a year in sales.

Gary then returned to his first love of understanding businesses and began the small business information publisher, the Reference Press. The company, now called Hoover's, Inc. is currently the world's largest on-line provider of information about businesses. Hoover's Online covers over 14,000 companies around the world. More than 1.5 million times a day, users worldwide access hoovers.com for useful easy-to-read information about the world of enterprise. Like BOOKSTOP, Hoover's has changed the way we do business.

Today, Gary Hoover travels the world speaking to Fortune 500 executives, trade associations, entrepreneurs, and college students about how enterprises are built and how they survive. From his own successes and failures, and from the lessons of the thousands of companies studied by Hoover's, he draws real-life examples that help audiences navigate into the 21st Century.




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