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Barrier, Jean

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Founder of Ajax Rent a Car.  Barrier emigrated to the U.S. from France in the late 1940s, with just $250 in his pocket. He worked selling everythign from pots and pans to pharmaceuticals.

He later moved to California where he became involved in the automotive industry and founded Gibraltar Leasing, a retail leasing firm, in 1969. That company proved to be a springboard into the daily rental industry.

In 1973, he spun off Ajax, choosing the name because of its simplicity, its alphabetical positioning and ease of remembrance. In 1974, the company had sales of $750,000 which quickly mushroomed to $23 million in three years as other locations were added to the five corporate offices in the Los Angeles area. By 1978, sales had grown to $40 million and then nearly $55 million at the end of fiscal 1979.

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