I had the pleasure of interviewing Rick and Rosemary Obey. Together they own Roventeur

A Navy Veteran Owned, manufacturer of unique Monument accessories.

Rick retired from 40 years as the owner of an established interior renovation company. He is an inventor with several patents.  Rosemary is a retired CEO executive assistant at Digital, HP, Compaq and Philips Healthcare. 

Thank you so much for joining me! Can you tell me a story about what brought you to this specific path?

We were at the cemetery on a freezing day wiring our parents wreaths on their headstones.  Being an inventor, I said to Rosemary, this is crazy, there has to be a better way of doing this.  I came home, went in my workshop and put together the first headstone wreath hanger.  Pretty soon, family, friends, neighbors wanted one.  We felt that we were onto something and it took off.  We decided to make it adjustable to conform to 7-11” headstones too.  Making it adjustable was a costly enterprise due to producing a die to enable the hanger to slide back and forth, but in the end it was totally worth the expense.

 Our travels took us to many cemetery’s and we saw that there were flags on the ground, and medallions spinning in the wind.  I was sick and tired of picking flags up and fixing the medallions, that is when I designed the Military Medallion Flag holder.  It has a unique design that prevents the flag holder from spinning in the wind.  The colored Military round disc adheres to the aluminum stake and proudly stands out, to show which branch of the Service the Veteran was in.

 Our market niche are Flag Dealers, Monument Dealers, Garden Centers and Florists.  We founded Roventeur because all these customers had problems that needed solving.

 Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your Roventeur? 

When we first started out, nobody really knew we existed.  We advertised by sending flyers to various companies that we thought would benefit from our products.  One of our new customers told us about the New England Grows Show at the Seaport Convention Center in Boston.  He thought we should get a booth.  It was about a week before the show was to open, so we called to see if we could get a space.  We did get a space BUT it was in a low traffic area….not much exposure.  Rosemary decided to take the Wreath Hanger and walk the entire show, showing the vendors who basically had holiday wreaths, etc. if they would be interested in our product.  That show got us new customers and one customer in particular.

 One of the largest growers in New England who supplies Home Depot was at the show, they contacted us and the following season we were supplying Headstone Wreath Hangers and Glass Door and Window Hangers in 64 New England Home Depots!

 What do you think makes Roventeur stand out? Can you share a story? 

Roventeur is truly a unique business.  We are the only company that manufacturer in the USA our one of a kind Military Flag Holders, Headstone Wreath Hangers and various other monument accessories.  We have had customers tell us that our quality products are state of the art.  Our communication is excellent and responsive, our point of contact is great.  Our on time excellent delivery and service is key to their needs.  Our pricing is fair.  Fair market price enables our customers to move products and reorder.  It’s a win/win for all.  AND we can’t stress enough that MADE IN AMERICA is very important to 100% of our customers.   We are continually coming up with new products which are customers look forward to seeing.

 None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

  I would be remiss if I did not mention Rosemary, who has been supportive of my inventions since day one. I have a friend Ed Cook, who is a machinist, Eddie helped me with several inventions and brought them from the drawing pad to reality.  He had the machines and showed me how the machines worked so I could make them.  Another person who is instrumental in Roventeur’s success is Dave Perry. I was looking for a piece of equipment and Dave had it for sale…I ended up buying the equipment, and eventually Dave began helping me with a critical piece of making the Military Flag Holders.  He is a fantastic mechanic and I could not do it without his help and expertise.  One other person who is instrumental is Lee Goldberg of VETRN.  In 2018 Lee asked us if we would be interested in taking a 3 month course that he offers to Veteran Owned Small Businesses at no cost.  We were hesitant because of the every other Saturday commitment, over an hour’s drive and HOMEWORK.  But we decided to attend, and we are grateful that we did.   Lee is fantastic, and very inspiring. He brought in wonderful speakers, we had a mentor and from that course we can still reach out to the experts that Lee recruited.  They are willing to help if needed.  Because of this course we have a new Logo, website, flyer, Accountant, updated packaging, have joined several organizations, have met with Small Business Association experts and bankers. Lee paved the way for us with his knowledge, and business skills.  

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?  

I would not say the world, but we try to do our part as best as we can.  We donate our products to the VA Hospice.   When we do charitable events such as Limbless Veterans, Vettes to Vets, Homeland Heroes to name a few we donate a percentage of our sales to those organizations.  We decorate our town common and cemeteries with our flag holders.

 Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

One quote that stands out is “the key to success is failure”.  As an inventor every time you fail is one step closer to success.  I had one invention that was going to change the way you open the big white plastic tubs of dry wall, etc.  We had the patent, we had the company that was going to invest and then the company filed Chapter 11.  That was a blow.  But you can’t let these things get you down.  Just keep on working and success will come along

 What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

When I first started working with metal, I didn’t realize that metal has a grain and that

certain metals bend, and others don’t.  If you go against the grain it will not bend in our case.

Don’t believe everything people tell you.  We invested a lot of money in a company who said that they could produce the medallions with no fading color….they would last 10 years.  That did not prove to be true. 

 We ended up researching products, machinery, where to buy the aluminum for the best price on our own. 

 Be careful what you wish for!   We are fortunate that our little retirement business has grown the way it has.  It’s still just Rosemary and me taking orders, billing, advertising, and making and shipping the products.  That could change in the near future if I decide to hire and expand, time will tell.

 How can our readers follow you? 

 Visit us on www.roventeur.com

 This was very inspiring, thank you Rick and Rosemary!  From a personal perspective, when I met Rick and Rosemary, I was impressed with their passion for this unique business.  I purchased a flag stand for each branch of service (and a couple of others) to put in my yard, because they make great yard decorations.