Redex Industries ‘Udderly’ Honored by SBA

SALEM, Ohio — Years ago, on a cold day in Montana, Gil Goldberg found himself searching the aisles of a supermarket, looking for a product to soothe his chapped hands.

A tube of “Udderly Smooth” hand cream caught his eye, and because he liked the name, he bought it.

So pleased was Goldberg with the results, he made a mental note to locate the manufacturer when he returned home to Ohio, only to find out the company, Redex Industries Inc, is based in Salem.

So, when it came time for him to present Redex with an award from the Small Business Administration, he brought along the tube that made him a lifelong customer.

“As you can see I’ve used this and today it is quite flat,” said Goldberg, district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s district office in Cleveland.

On Tuesday Goldberg presented Redex with the SBA’s Butland Family-Owned Business Award during a ceremony at the company’s headquarters in Salem.

“It’s a very great honor,” said Redex President Bill Kennedy Jr.

The award is given annually to a family owned business in northeastern Ohio. The business must be passed from one generation to the next for at least 15-years. It also must perform some type of community service.

“What they do for the troops,” Goldberg says, “shipping free packets all over the world is really commendable and that stood out.”

Redex Industries began in 1978 when Bill Kennedy Sr., a pharmacist, developed a cream to soothe the udders of dairy cows. The cream also worked well on humans, so Kennedy and his wife Marg took out a $40,000 direct loan from the SBA, and the business was born.

“Here we are today with over 50,000 retail outlets and over 12 countries that we sell in,” reflected Kennedy Jr.

Redex employs 18 and its products can be found across the globe in countries such as Canada,  Australia, and Brazil.

To get there required years of dedication and work from the family. Marg Kennedy is fond of telling her children the only time success appears before work is in the dictionary.

“It was a lot of work,” recalled daughter Linda Kuzior, who today is director of operations. “We were very young and didn’t really understand what was involved in owning and operating your own business.”

Kuzior worked in industry for eight years before the thought of joining the business her parents started came to her.

“I just got in the car, called and said, ‘Hey, I’m ready. Are you ready for me?’ That was about 20 years ago,” she laughs.

Today Redex is a true family business in every sense. Two other children work there, as does grandchild Mike Kennedy. Kuzior’s children also work for the company when their school schedule permits.

Marg Kennedy was quick to point out the important role the companies employees also played in its success.

“When we might all be on the road traveling, we know that the business is in good hands with these people that you see standing here,” she told those gathered for the award ceremony.

Goldberg said it’s success stories like Redex that make working for the SBA worthwhile.

“I think all SBA’ers have the best job in the federal government, because we help the small business community,” he declared. “We help them grow and create jobs and we see the results like this.”

For Kuzior, it’s the unexpected ways her family’s work continues to benefit people around the world.

“I ran into a cancer patient and he started telling me about how our product helped him get through the side effects of chemo-therapy,” she recalled.

“It’s always interesting to hear the different stories people tell.”

Pictured: Kennedy family gathers to accept award from the SBA’s Gil Goldberg.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.