John Brown and his Laguna Beach-based company help produce innovative events for a new era.- By Micaela Myers
John Brown has always been an entrepreneur at heart. “I remember growing up in South Laguna on Camel Point,” he says. “I built a sand cart to pick up bottles and soda cans from trash containers. I would get up at 5 a.m. When I was 12, I set up a Coca-Cola stand outside our gate and sold drinks for I think 25 cents. The Coca-Cola truck would stop by our garage on Coast Highway and deliver about 10 cases a week. It was fun and I was making money.”
John graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1969, studied theater at Cal State Fullerton, and in the late ’70s began producing events as president and CEO of The Showpros Group, headquartered in Laguna since 1998. As an award-winning producer, director and videographer, John leads The Showpros as they help to create memorable events around the world, including local productions for Laguna Art Museum, Art for AIDS, Laguna Hospitality Night, LCAD, SchoolPower, LOCA and Glenwood House. Here, Laguna Beach Magazine chats with John about his unique company and life in Laguna.
LBM: How did The Showpros get its start?
JB: After working for Kawasaki for a number of years, my division was shut down. Two years later, Kawasaki called and asked me to independently produce their national dealer meeting. I was instantly launched as The Showpros. I got the name from a piece of equipment that we used called a Showpro5. We have retained our name and logo for 31 years.
LBM: Can you tell us in three sentences or less, what is The Showpros?
JB: We are a creative production company using state-of-the-art presentation technology. We deliver our clients’ visions and messages in order to engage an audience. We are a highly relationship-focused multimedia communications company. It is our desire to partner as team members with our clients in order to meet all of their production needs.
LBM: What made you decide to relocate your business to Laguna Beach?
JB: I grew up on Camel Point, so bringing my business here was like coming home. This is an environment that fosters creative and artistic design … my office is now located above the Subway sandwich shop. Before it was Subway it was Edgewater Real Estate. My father worked for Edgewater Real Estate and Georgia Gill in the ’70s. My desk is now directly above where he had his desk. I feel the connection every day that I come to my office.
LBM: You also help charities with their events. What are some charities that you’ve worked with and that are near and dear to your heart?
JB: American Diabetes Association, Casa Teresa, Orange County Boy Scouts of America, American Heart Association, AIDS Services Foundation and others. I would say that Boy Scouts is most near and dear to my heart.
LBM: What’s one of your favorite memories from growing up in Laguna Beach?
JB: Aliso Creek was a lot of fun to play as Tom Sawyer. My friends and I would be on a wooden raft out of found wood. We would make it large enough so at least two guys could float on it at one time. LBM