Barker Specialty (PPAI 102001, D6) is celebrating 70 years in business. The Cheshire, Connecticut-based distributor was started in 1951 by Gloria and Herb Barker who had a vision that tangible marketing products would one day become a critical advertising medium. Their thought was that useful products, those that can be seen repeatedly, would be a popular way to carry a branded message.

“I am so proud that my parents’ vision has become a reality and the company they started in their kitchen has become one of the premier promotional products companies in the country with nearly 80 employees,” says Gerry Barker, president of Barker Specialty. “While I am saddened Gloria and Herb are not here to share our 70th anniversary, I am thrilled they were both here for our 65th, and we are committed to continuing the wonderful legacy they created.”

Barker Specialties is now in its second generation as a family-owned business. The Barkers wanted to create a work environment where respect for fellow employees and clients was paramount. This mentality extended to the greater community where Barker Specialty has and continues to give job and internship opportunities, donations and volunteers to many worthwhile causes and organizations. Barker Specialty continues to thrive and has earned multiple recognitions including most recently, the 2020 PPAI Pyramid Award for Technology.