Happy 20th Birthday Oaktree Products – guest post by Sassy B. Kemp

Twenty years ago, a little company called Oaktree Products was founded in 1992 by Robert J. Kemp in the basement of his Chesterfield, MO home.  As Product Manager in the Marketing Department at  Marion Laboratories, Bob was responsible for overseeing Debrox, a cerumen softening product produced and distributed by his former employer.  Through his various travels, his path crossed with none other than Ross Roeser.  When asked what he did for a living, Dr. Roeser identified himself as an audiologist; as they were talking, the  evolution of the profession’s scope of practice to include cerumen management was mentioned and, you guessed it, the rest is history.

The name Oaktree Products was actually code for a special project brainstorm by Bob and Ross that involved audiologists visiting nursing homes to perform otoscopy and identify seniors with impactions who could have hearing improved via cerumen removal.  The special project was referred to as Optimizing Auditory Kommunication Through Routine Ear Examinations.  While the special project never really took off, the name Oaktree stuck and, hence, the origin of Oaktree Products.  Given his background and interactions with Dr. Roeser, Bob introduced the very first product offered by Oaktree Products:  Audiologist’s Choice® Earwax Removal Drops.

The first employee that Bob hired was his wife Margy; prior to coming on board, Margy was managing three small children (Katie, Michael, and David) while selling homes via her real estate license that was earned specifically to put food on the table during the early years of the business.  While all three of the children are now grown with college degrees, Bob and Margy have a new home of mouths to feed in the 19 full-time and three part-time people employed at Oaktree Products.   As their dog, I can honestly say that Bob and Margy are the best owners in the world.  Congratulations on twenty years!

Sassy B. Kemp is the Director of Employee Satisfaction at Oaktree Products, Inc., a multi-line distributor of hearing healthcare products located in the greater Saint Louis area.  Since 2005, her role at Oaktree Products involves making rounds every morning at the office to ensure employees are in a good mood and ready to provide the highest level of customer service.  A King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Sassy is the official greeter of visitors to Oaktree Products, wagging her tail and providing a warm welcome to guests coming to the office.  When employees need a mental break, she gladly accompanies them on short walks outside around the company grounds to clear minds. In the afternoon she naps before going home.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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One Response to Happy 20th Birthday Oaktree Products – guest post by Sassy B. Kemp

  1. Dan Schwartz says:

    As a little bit of marketing trivia, the first discount store chain was E. J. Korvettes, which was the acronym of their founders, Eleven Jewish Korean Veterans.

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