Great Expectations Celebrates More Than 35 Years of Dating Service Experience

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Great Expectations is celebrating more than 35 years of experience in the dating service industry by helping professional singles find love.

“I decided to start opening up locations because I wanted to give singles the opportunity to fall in love the same way I did"

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The year was 1976, America was celebrating the bicentennial, gas was only 59 cents, the first Apple computer was created, Matsushita introduced VHS video to compliment Sony’s Beta Max, and the modern day matchmaker was born.

On February 14, 1976, Great Expectations opened their doors for the first time. The idea for video dating came about when founder, Jeffery Ullman, was at a dinner party and ran into an old college friend. As they spoke she began telling him some of her recent blind-date horror stories, and how she was having a difficult time meeting single men in general.

Ullman, who started tinkering with videos as a journalism student in college, took the idea of a video dating service to his parents. A dating company that markets professional singles to the type of person they’re looking for.

Great Expectations started out as a small family business, Ullman’s parents gave him the start-up loan, and has now grown into a multimarket dating service. With more than 35 years of experience, Great Expectations has continued to not only set the standard in the dating world, but also the business model for all dating services. Constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve, Great Expectations was the first dating service to take old school matchmaking methods and mix them with modern technology to help singles meet the love of their life.

“When we first got started, members would come into the centers for their interview with the matchmakers, and they would then continue to come into the center each week to make their selections, or find out who selected them, but with the changes in technology the business had to move with it,” said John Meriggi, owner of 14 locations. “In the late 90s, when the internet and online dating began to emerge, we created GE Online. It’s a private and secure website accessible only to GE members to view profiles, watch video interviews, and make their selections from the privacy of their home, but all members are still required to have their initial interviews in person at the local center.”

Great Expectations is one of the few dating services around today that offer background checks of all potential members before allowing them to join.

“Member safety is our top priority, especially with the way online dating is now days, people lie on their profiles constantly,” said Meriggi, “that’s why we also take the time to do the video and all photo’s that are on our member profiles. What you see is what you get.”

Meriggi got his start with Great Expectations in the late 1980’s, and when asked about his favorite memory with Great Expectations, Meriggi made no hesitation in answering, “My Wife.” Before opening up his own locations, he was member of Great Expectations where he met and married his wife, Cheryl. The couple has two daughters together and recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

“I decided to start opening up locations because I wanted to give singles the opportunity to fall in love the same way I did,” said Meriggi.

To learn more about Great Expectations or to find a location visit

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Amanda Rios
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