It’s somewhat mindboggling to consider how the minor details in life can unexpectedly transpire into the bigger picture; shaping and transforming our malleable existence to define our future.
When father and son, Anthony and Chris Markgraf, set out to develop a new formula for their company’s fog machine – with help from co-worker Adam Pogue – they could have never anticipated the life-changing events that would soon follow the creation of the new brew.
A mild asthmatic, Chris had prompted the search for a new fog solution because the heavily concentrated formula they were been using – with the introduction of a laser tag arena to their roller-rink business – irritated his nasal passages and often induced an asthmatic attack.
The trio consulted several different chemists as they began to experiment with new solutions, also relying on the brains of the operation, Anthony, and his degree in biochemistry. What they developed was indeed remarkable; a solution that was lighter and lingered for an hour to an hour-and-a-half – an unheard of lifespan as manmade fog usually dissipates after 20 to 30 minutes.
They rejoiced at the successful development of their breathe-easy creation and then returned to business as usual. It wasn’t until a family friend, Mike, stopped by for a visit that an unexpected popularity began to generate. He had requested a few gallons of their new formula and then chatted up its unbelievable functionality to a few friends and neighbors; the rest proceeded as a blur of rave reviews and a nearly overwhelming amount of orders for the new fog formula.
“Man, I think we’re in the fog business; whether we want to be or not,” Chris recalls saying to Pogue, shortly after the explosion of enthusiasm among new customers.
Froggy’s Fog (www.FroggysFog.com) became official in June of 2005 and has since then received nationwide recognition for its innovative creations, which also include haze fluid and fire and rescue fog that’s used in military, fire and safety training. Additionally, they have developed snow fluid and bubble fluid, which both have the UV capability to glow in the dark.
The company’s continual broadening and expansion of customers – including the business of powerhouse clients Universal Studios, Bush Gardens and Six Flags – has provided Froggy’s Fog employees with a twofold satisfaction. First is the glory of a monumental success and, secondly, the ability to bring happiness and success to other businesses and people nationwide.
“We like watching other people succeed. We’re delighted that a handful of theme parks not only use our products, but have provided us with positive feedback. One in particular called to tell us that ‘upon using your product, this was the first year that we’ve gone without a respiratory claim suit filed against us,’” Chris said.
Remarks like these, Chris says, are his favorite aspect of his business; however, he dually noted that Froggy’s Fog also enjoys the many wonderful opportunities they’ve been blessed with.
Last year, he received a phone call requesting that Froggy’s Fog be featured on the national TV show “The World’s Greatest,” which aired in October 2008. Additionally, Froggy’s Fog was named one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Tennessee, just this year.
However, the company’s most distinguished feature isn’t the great success they’ve witnessed or the exceptional publicity they’ve been granted, it’s the gracious and humble nature that radiates from the heart of the business.
It’s apparent, from their courteous business sense, that they haven’t lost sight of their original values, which are clearly centered on the customer.
“Take care of your customers every time, even if they’re wrong,” Chris said. “The only customer you want to make mad is one you don’t want back.”
In fact, they even know when to ask for help – when it’s in the best interest of the company. In April of this year Froggy’s Fog connected with iePlexus to develop a blog (www.FroggysBlog.com) for their business.
“We wanted a blog and iePlexus was an easy way to get started with minimal outlay of company employee time,” Pogue said.
So, what else can we expect from this family-run business that’s exploded into a mega enterprise? A lot.
“We’re continually expanding what we do; next on our list is the development of foam for foam parties,” Chris said.
Among Froggy Fog’s newest developments is an aviation smoke designed for the skywriting industry. Currently available in the traditional white, the company is working to create smoke in a variety of colors.
Not bad. But what else would be expected from a company that incorporates uncanny scents such as burnt flesh, gothic, swamp and mildew into their fog? Nothing less.