Fifteen years ago, some people in the Nashville business community snickered after learning that a new businessman had bought a bankrupt hose and rubber distributorship in the downtown area.

After all, they reasoned, George Fournier had no distribution experience, whatsoever. He also had no sales experience — and worse yet, no product knowledge. Some of those doomsayers predicted he’d be out of business in six months.

But those skeptics didn’t know Fournier, who today presides over Industrial Rubber & Gasket, a distributorship that has grown in sales nearly every year, has 22 people on its payroll, and has opened two branches in the past several years. No, they sure didn’t know George Fournier.

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