Located at the intersection of Spartan Dr. and State Highway N in Cottleville, Missouri, Amco Ranger had a very humble beginning. Founder, Senior Andy Mannino, a butcher then at a local food chain, bought the business from his neighbor for a whooping sum of $125. “I put $50 down payment and later paid $25 in installments for next three months”, Mr. Mannino explains with a smile. Becoming a proud owner of Hudson sprayers and with a residential account list of less than thirty clients, he ventured full swing solely trusting on his natural customer service skills. Today with offices also in Springfield and Kansas City, and with twenty-five plus employees, the annual sales revenue is almost two million dollar. “Our first year revenue was $350 followed by $600 second year”, he explains and nevertheless did not get discouraged. Mannino continued to run his business from his home, part-time, for almost a decade, building one customer at a time, mostly word-of-mouth advertisement and exceptional customer service. Thought initially he was not well versed in the technical side of pest control, but then with some help from Bob Race (Antimite Termite Co.), John Veatch (Veatch Chemicals) and some countless trips to Purdue Pest Control Conferences, Sr. Andy was able to quickly acquire a wealth of industrial knowledge. However, it’s only at the age of forty (1972) he got into full-time with his business. Since then, AMCO-Ranger Pest Control swiftly became a well-known brand, in a highly competitive market place. DePaul Hospital in St. Louis was their first commercial account and that was his turning point, which gave instant credibility. Today commercial customers represent one-third of company’s business, and the rest is residential work and termite control. Under his leadership, they have been growing ten to twenty percent rate ever since. In 1995 Andy introduced a highly successful subscription business model, The Silver Star Perimeter Protection Program. “The program was designed to stop pests before they enter the home”, explains Mannion. The ability to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace is one of the primary reasons for continued success.
Now retired, Sr. Andy Mannino had also served as the president of both St. Louis Pest Control association (1980) and Missouri Pest Control Association (1985). Mr. Mannino lost his wife, Patsye, last year and subsequently isolated himself from social activities. However, very recent he is in good sprits and occasionally visits Jo’s 5th Street Pub and Bemo’s Grill at the Historic Downtown District in Cottleville, where I had the opportunity to interview him. He is such an inspiring person and yet humble.
Interviewed by Stephen M. Thompson, Ph.D.