SAN FRANCISCO—After seven years as chief operating officer of Cleveland-based, adult biz monolith General Video of America-Trans World News, industry veteran Joel Kaminsky is leaving the position and returning to the West Coast to focus his energies fully on prior GVA-TWN subsidiary Good Vibrations.
Kaminsky came to GVA-TWN in 2002 at the behest of his niece, Rondee Kamins, who had recently purchased the company from her father Mel Kamins. Much of Kaminsky's previous career had been spent at another industry institution, The Adult Supersource in San Francisco.
In October 2007, GVA-TWN acquired Good Vibrations, and since then, Kaminsky has divided his time between the two companies. He now owns Good Vibes outright, and will be presiding over the San Fran-based retailer full time as its president and CEO.
"It's just all making sense to me right now," Kaminsky told AVN. "It's just time. I feel confident leaving [GVA-TWN] at this time because the team that has begun to be assembled consists of some great, great people with an exceptional skill set that is positioned to take this company to a new level. I wouldn't leave if I felt like I was going to hurt the company in any way. This is my family, and my family's business, and they are much more important to me than any financial opportunities I may have."
It is family, as well, that plays the most significant part in Kaminsky's decision to once again make California his permanent home.
"I miss my kids," he said. "I probably underestimated the difficulty of being away from my children, and there's been grandchildren born since I left. My two oldest are in the Bay area, and my youngest has aspirations to be there, and with the business there, it just all makes perfect sense."
Kamins echoed his comments, saying, "It just seemed like the right time. It's hard to fly West Coast-East Coast, and I really think as you get older, it gets a little bit harder to bounce back every trip. When you're a week here, a week there, it gets very tiring. He has a great opportunity with Good Vibes. It's something new for both us, so we're both excited for each other. I have great people here, we're expanding our retail, we're expanding our wholesale, we're doing a lot of things here, and it just felt like the right time."
Kamins spoke glowingly of her uncle's efforts during his time at GVA-TWN, and offered equal enthusiasm about his future with Good Vibrations.
"He was definitely key in helping me expand on the foundation that I had when I bought this place," she said. "He's definitely helped in hiring and mentoring many of the people here. I'm super excited about his opportunity with Good Vibes, because I think spending a hundred percent of his time on Good Vibes, I definitely see that it could grow exponentially."
As for his own plans concerning this move, Kaminsky said, "I don't plan on meddling into the day-to-day operation of GV; Jackie [Strano, the company's recently-appointed COO] is well equipped to do that. It's a woman focused, women-centric business that needs to be directed from a woman's point of view. Things I plan on myself probably dealing with are the back end, behind-the-scenes, financial strategic planning and the like."
Asked what his own prognosis is for the business in general, given the current climate of doom and gloom, Kaminsky posited, "This business has always evolved, there's always been winners and losers ... change is inevitable in every industry. That's business. I think those who are filled with doom and gloom are those that have perhaps rested on their laurels or become complacent in their business mindset. Successful businesses are built to last. As long as you have good people, a finger on the pulse of where the industry is and as it's changing, there's really nothing different about this industry than any other."