Dr. Robert A Koetting, Inspires MSLK
My grandfather, Dr. Robert A Koetting was quite a visionary, business savvy, and artistic man. Since the age of five when I declared my passion for the arts, he burned this message into my head, “Artists, don’t make any money because they do not know how to market themselves or properly value their work.”
However, my grandfather taught me more than that.
He was a visionary in the world of Optometry, pioneering the use of contact lenses. In 1999 he was honored with the AOA’s Distinguished Service Award, and named one of the “Top O.D.’s of the Decade.” as well as “Most Influential O.D. in Practice Management in the 20th Century.”
In the 1960s he started the The Koetting Associates which quickly became known as the place where you went to get properly fitted for lens. They also specialized in helping people with astigmatisms and others who had tried and failed at correcting their vision.
The Koetting Associates was also a place where you could count on more than just exemplary eye care. The office was decorated with wall-to-wall artwork collected by my grandfather from St. Louis artists, including Ernest Trova. At one time he held the largest independent collection of local artists work. It was a comfortable space where patients were encouraged to sit on couches, read magazines, look at art and enjoy complimentary tea, coffee, and cookies (I ate a lot of cookies).
To quote my grandfather, “We were never the cheapest in town, but we offered peace of mind as well as an experience.” Not a bad thing to consider as a point-of-difference for any independent business.
My grandfather is also someone who put all of his talents to use. When the Koetting Associates needed a logo, he drew it up himself and created the first known example of a “Koetting” graphic design. I’ve always been quite fond of its 1960’s op art characteristics. Very fitting for an eye doctor. I didn’t know that my grandfather actually designed this until earlier this year.
When I asked my grandfather about creating it he said, “I was looking for something that could add a touch of class on our letterhead. I was thinking of something we could stamp with a special foil.” So he drew it up and the rest is history. Over 30 years later, the original logo and company name are still in use, even though my grandfather is retired and the Koettings no longer have anything to do with The Koetting Associates. That says something about the power of what my grandfather created. (And the power of a strong brand.)
When you look around MSLK, the work we’ve created, and environment we work in, I hope you will find inspiration from my grandfather. I know that Marc and I do.