Matchmakers reunite loved ones.
Nick matzorkis, 34, learned how emotional reunions with loved ones can be at an early age. When Matzorkis was 9 years old, his father moved the family to Greece to track down family members they'd lost touch with during World War II.
"My father pulled us out of school for a year to find our roots," says Matzorkis. "It was an incredibly impactful time of my life."
So much so that, more than 20 years later, those memories were the impetus for the founding of Beverly Hills, California-based 1-800-U.S. Search Inc. In late 1994, Matzorkis began running classified ads urging people who were interested in finding long-lost family or friends to call him. He then searched databases to match the individuals with their loved ones.
It didn't take long for 1-800-U.S. Search to take off, especially after Matzorkis brought in former colleague Robert Rich, 27, to help with the business side of the company. The partners' first TV appearance, on the talk show "Leeza," garnered more than 20,000 calls. Subsequent talk-show appearances have the young company's phones ringing to the tune of $10 million a year in sales. --H.C.F.