History of Kaeser and Blair
Our foundation was built in 1894, during the administration of Grover Cleveland.
A small printing company, Cincinnati Printing and Paper Products Co., opened its doors at 200 West 8th Street.
In 1923, two paper salesmen, Dutch Kaeser and Bill Blair, negotiated to purchase the assets and stock.
In 1925 Dutch and Bill expanded their sales efforts by inaugurating a new and revolutionary method of marketing called, "Direct Selling". That is selling its paper products, by mail, exclusively through a national network of independent sales persons. The sales person would write the order and receive a commission on the sale.
This revolutionary marketing strategy remains the "heart" of our business today, as we continue to market exclusively through independent sales professionals.
Kaeser and Blair flourished. Even during the depression, we are proud that we never missed sending a single commission check. In fact, corporate minutes reflect Dutch Kaeser met his payroll with cash during the "bank holiday" that ignited the 1929 depression, It was then that Dutch Kaeser proclaimed, "There is, I feel, no nobler, more secure endeavor than providing business with the means to attract and keep the patronage of their customers. We are in the business of building business".
It was then new items such as imprinted pencils, book matches and other printed products were introduced to the market by Kaeser and Blair.
In 1946 Dutch Kaeser's two entrepreneurial sons, Dick and John, decided to give the printing business a try and started their own corporation, Kaeser Incorporated. Their relationship was perfect. Dick pounded the streets all day selling, while brother John ran the shop.
In 1951 Bill Blair retired from Kaeser and Blair selling his shares to Dutch. Dutch reached an agreement with his sons, and in 1954 a merger between Kaeser Incorporated and Kaeser and Blair was complete. For over 1 and 1/2 decades, the three continued to build the business, implementing their basic business strategy for direct marketing through independent contractor sales people. In 1966 Dick Kaeser was faced with the most difficult decision of his life. Dutch asked him to leave the streets where he religiously "pounded the pavement" selling for 25 years and come inside and run the company.
In 1968 Dick Kaeser became president. After 37 years Dutch Kaeser became chairman so he could spend more time afield with his beloved "bird dogs".
Sadly it did not turn out that way -- he died at his desk while serving dealers on January 14, 1970.
From 1970 through 1983 Dick and John worked side by side. Dick passed along the title of president to John in 1975. Together they continued to build their business. However, recognizing the changing market conditions, John and Dick pursued the addition of advertising products which were manufactured and printed by suppliers on their behalf and delivered to their customers. These custom printed items, known as "advertising specialities" gave Kaeser and Blair access to an ever growing market. No longer restricted to those items manufactured in their own plant, K&B dealers had access to thousands of items, including nationally recognized brands like BIC, Paper Mate and Scheaffer , printed in hundreds of different plants throughout the United States. Due to fierce competition and technology changes, the paper printed products industry steadily declined through the late 70's and early 80's. However, the market for speciality advertising products was just beginning to develop. These product lines were much more profitable for the company and our dealers. In 1981 it was decided that the original Kaeser manufacturing plant be closed.
This gave K&B the opportunity to concentrate all their efforts and resources on their dealer network.
In 1983 after 37 years, John Kaeser retired to his sailboat in Florida.
The third generation is at your service. While Kurt Kaeser just became President in 1996, he will never forget his Kaeser inherited tendency toward hard work and the willingness to do anything to help K&B dealers. His primary responsibilities include "copy writing" for the company publications and negotiating special deals with K&B vendors. However, he is always delighted to pick up the phone and help a dealer. After all, after attending Wittenburg University his first 16 years at Kaeser and Blair were spent "in the trenches" often fielding over 150 calls a day from dealers, helping them get more orders, and solving any problems they encountered. Kurt will never forget his allegiance to K&B dealers.
Dick Kaeser, the chairman is still plenty active. He claims to have cut back to half days...he chooses whichever 12 hours he wants. Actually, he is still as enthusiastic about this business as he was when he deliberately got himself kicked out of college so he could join his dad at Kaeser 54 years ago.
Dick makes sure you have the tools and information you need to see your sales accelerate. He is K&B's mentor, making certain everyone follows the Kaeser tradition, never forgetting the sole reason for K&B's success, their dealers.
In fact, he often reminds K&B officers of the quote written by Dutch Kaeser in the 1937 prospectus,"You won't find any 'shiny pants' executives in our organization, just honest, hardworking folks devoted to your success."
Dick Kaeser, Chairman • Kurt Kaeser, President & CEO • Bob Lewellen, Executive VP • Don Black, VP Finance