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KAMO Has 74-Year History in Augusta

Harris and Jack Weinstein
From left, Harris and Jack Weinstein stand with Sol, the KAMO Manufacturing Co.'s mascot. The family-owned business has been in operation for 74 years. Staff photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

KAMO Manufacturing Co. has been a family-owned business in Augusta for 74 years.

Ben Kaplan and Willie Moog founded KAMO in 1947, taking the first two letters from each of their last names to form the business name.

Moog was the salesman while Kaplan had the business acumen, said Jack Weinstein, who married Moog’s daughter, Sharon, and joined the business in May 1969.

“He (Moog) could sell anybody anything,” he said. “And he never even knew what he was selling.”

Weinstein said Moog was a character. He smoked a cigar and drove an orange Cadillac. He didn’t know the exact products he was selling, but he knew what his customers wanted. And he made sure they got it. Customers kept coming back.

The Kaplan/Moog partnership was a good one, he said. Each man kept to his task. If Moog asked a question about how the business was run, Weinstein said Kaplan would ask Moog if he was making a good living; to which, Moog would respond “Yes.” And that was the end of the conversation.

An early ad for KAMO Manufacturing Co. hangs in the Reynolds Street location. Staff photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

KAMO’s first location was on Eighth Street. The business is now located on Reynolds Street with two brightly-colored murals by artist Brian Stewart.

After the death of Kaplan, Moog developed prostate cancer. Weinstein and a partner bought Moog out of the business. A few years later, Weinstein bought his partner out. His son, Harris, was involved in the business for many years before he became its president. He started fulltime after graduating from the University of Alabama in 1996.

At the age of 16 and still in high school, Harris Weinstein was called on to speak for the company at the funeral of a longtime, valued employee named Saul. The company’s mascot is named in honor of the man who worked at the company for more than 40 years. Harris Weinstein attended the funeral for his parents who were out of the country at the time and had no idea he’d be asked to speak but gave an impromptu speech anyway.

Jack Weinstein points to items in a case in KAMO Manufacturing Co.’s showroom.
Jack Weinstein points to items in a case in KAMO Manufacturing Co.’s showroom. The items include original ledgers as well as formulas for the cleaning products it sold. Staff photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Jack Weinstein said it’s employees such as Saul who are at the heart of his company’s success. Saul started in 1948 and continued working almost to the day he died. He’d come to work straight off dialysis treatments in his later years.

Jack Weinstein’s daughter, Stephanie Ware, and son, Greg Weinstein, also work for the company.

Taking care of employees and the community are the keys to the business’s success, past, present and future, he said.

The business has grown since Harris Weinstein joined from in 1996 from 15 employees to 45 employees and more growth is on the horizon.

“We want to do good business, be charitable and help care for our employees,” said Jack Weinstein.