Vincent Marotta, one of the co-founders of the iconic Mr. Coffee brand that helped revolutionize how Americans make their morning brew, died Saturday at his home in suburban Cleveland. He was 91.
Marotta and his business partner and high school friend Samuel Glazer turned Mr. Coffee into a household name after asking two engineers to create a drip brewing system like those found in restaurants. Marotta came up with the idea after his and Glazer’s construction and shopping center development business were hurt by a slowdown in the real estate market.
Ah, diversification. Marotta and Glazer sold North American Systems, Inc., the company they formed to manufacture Mr. Coffee, for $182 million in 1987, fifteen years after its inception. And there’s one corporate secret to be told:
The brand’s fortunes received a boost when Marotta persuaded retired New York Yankees star Joe DiMaggio to become the Mr. Coffee spokesman. Ironically, DiMaggio only drank instant decaffeinated coffee because of stomach problems.
Joltin’ Joe wouldn’t let that bother him, though:
The Mr. Coffee brand is now owned by Jarden Corporation.