Our Story


Stephen Zuppas, CPA, Amy Shields, PRC and Michael Mermelstein (pictured left to right), Purchase Reputable Research Company

In August of 2015, Amy Shields, Michael Mermelstein and Steve Zuppas established a new company (AMS Ventures, Inc.) to facilitate the purchase of Nichols Research, Inc.

Of course, that does not a special story make. To understand the spirit of Nichols Research today, we must first go back to the beginning…and the legacy entrusted to us.

The late Mimi Nichols, after the success of a potato chip focus group in her living room with clients viewing from the kitchen, established Nichols Research, Inc. in 1978. Mimi was an icon in the marketing research industry with a keen business sense, the ability to foresee trends long before most, and an uncanny knack for identifying talent. She never settled, but set the bar high. Enter Jane Rosen in 1984. Together, for more than three decades, the two women reigned powerfully, creating a unique blend of high standards, professionalism and heart.

On November 1, 2012, the matriarch of the Nichols Research, Inc. family passed away following a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. True to her competitive spirit, Mimi Nichols surpassed all medical predictions about the expected length and quality of her life after the heartbreaking diagnosis in 2009. Before her passing, Mimi logically entrusted the role of president to her closest business confidant and friend, Jane Rosen, whose leadership from 2010 to early 2016 continued the NRI legacy during and through some very challenging economical years for the marketing research industry.

Under New Ownership

As Nichols Research begins its new era under the leadership of Amy Shields, Michael Mermelstein and Stephen Zuppas, the new partners remain inspired by the founders who came before, including some of the favorite sayings often heard around the office from 1978 to 2015: “You have to be willing to take risks,” “You really get out of it what you put into it,” “Take your vitamins and brace yourself,” “We are considered market leaders and will strive to keep that standing,” and “Always look for new opportunities.”

While Nichols Research, Inc. has been a Bay Area and Central California business stalwart for nearly four decades, it is with great enthusiasm that the current owners look forward to the opportunity, challenge and responsibility of continuing (and building upon) the legacy of the premium brand – now named Nichols Research. Under the new leadership, short- and long-term objectives include growth as a primary marketing research organization; focus and expansion of core services to align with high growth industry areas; reduction of unnecessary overhead; capitalizing on and acting as stewards of existing brand name recognition by maintaining loyal client base while strategically building upon it through increased revenue for research conducted outside of the Bay Area and Central California; and attracting new clients and partners through expanded product offerings, multi-pronged marketing efforts and, collectively, the new owners’ extensive professional networks and marketing research industry experience.

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