Gene Simmons is now in business with three Niagara Falls KISS super fans.
“When I love the idea of something, that’s the beginning, but when you meet people who are passionate, who are committed to it, that’s the home run,” Simmons said.
The three men say they’re still pinching themselves after going into business with their icon.
“This is blowing our minds, I’m not even trying to think about it,” John Janik said.
And the story of how this partnership began is incredible.
Brothers, Paul and John Janik are third generation bottlers, and owners of the Johnnie Ryan Company, in their hometown of Niagara Falls. Their friend, Christoper Haick, who they met in middle school, over their love of KISS, is the accountant.
“We’ve been KISS fans for about 35 years,” Paul said. “It was April of 2017, we took a trip with our families up to Wizard World Con, which was in Cleveland Ohio. We needed some posters signed.”
It was there, at Wizard World Con, that Gene started asking them about themselves and what they do.
“I love families,” Simmons said. “I love anybody who works hard, feeds their families and is good for the community.”
The brothers exchanged numbers with Gene Simmons, and Simmons told them he would call them in a few days. He didn’t lie.
A few days later, he called Paul. When the two hung up from that call, Gene asked for an email from Paul, to get the ball rolling on the business. But of course, Paul said he need to call his brother.
“He goes, ‘Gene Simmons just called me!'” John said. “I go, ‘Oh my God.’ Then he goes, ‘wait a minute, he’s calling me back.'”
Paul said that second call from Gene came about 30 seconds after the two had hung up the first time. He was already calling to ask if he had sent the email yet. Gene Simmons was waiting at his computer for that message.
Those initial phone calls showed the three just how much Gene was going to be invested in the company. They created the Gene Simmons MoneyBag sodas.
“This is cane sugar, none of that crappy, chemical sugar stuff,” Simmons said about the drink.
You can buy them online, or at local 7-Elevens, Wegmans and Tops locations.