The beginning of it all…
The Beltone legacy began in the 1930’s when Sam and Faye Posen recognized the need for personalized and miniaturized hearing aid technology.
As a way to help a friend with hearing loss, Sam went to work creating a new hearing aid that would allow his friend to hear the music of life more vividly. When he presented the finished product, his friend exclaimed that he could hear “as clear as a bell.” Right then and there Beltone was born.
By 1940 Beltone was open for business in a modest building in downtown Chicago, Illinois, and manufacturing of hearing aids was done in that very building for over 60 years.
Beltone Ad, Circa 1941
The beginning of a legacy…
My Dad, Eddie Ledford Sr., began his career with Beltone in 1953 working in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. He liked the business so well that he decided he wanted to own his own practice. Being an avid boater, he wanted to be on the Great Lakes, so he purchased the Cleveland, Ohio, territory in 1956 and turned it into one of Beltone’s largest operations of that time. Over the years, he bought and sold franchises in Tampa, Florida and Buffalo, New York.
My Grandpa, Floyd Ledford, was living in Port Huron, Michigan and moved to Cleveland to help my Dad with the Beltone operation. My mom shared that “Pappy” (as we called him) repaired hearing aids for Dad and my grandma (Grammy) took care of the direct mail on an old machine in their basement using metal name and address plates to create advertising pieces. The whole family was now involved in Beltone.
In 1971 My Mother, Lynn Ledford, started working for the Newport News Beltone owner and shortly thereafter, Beltone sold her the territory including Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg and Kilmarnock. She opened her first office in Hampton in 1979 and my brother, Eddie Ledford Jr., joined her after graduating from college. Eddie and I became the third generation of Beltone.
The beginning of Beltone Southside…
I loved what Beltone stood for and after working with my mother for a while, I agreed to relaunch the Virginia Beach territory that had been vacant for over two years. I opened the first of my six offices in July of 2001. I started my business from scratch, with no existing client base. I didn’t really have the background to start a business, but I had the fortitude and self confidence to know I could make this happen with a lot of hard work and perseverance. I surrounded myself with the right set of mentors, which was a key to my success. I have steadily learned the ins and outs of owning my own business, applied a lot of Dale Carnegie principles and always tried to treat my employees and patients exactly the way I would want to be treated. We have grown to earn the ranking of the top 15 in a company of over 1500 offices. My family and I are a very tight knit group that works and plays well together. We live very close to one another and have worked hard to develop the strongest bond a family can have. The legacy I have built for my children includes my reputation, moral and ethical standing, brand image, and longevity in this territory. We are the largest hearing aid provider in Hampton Roads and have no plans of changing that!
The 4th Generation Comes Calling…
My oldest son, Joshua, came to work with me at Beltone after he graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011. He quickly realized his passion for helping people with a hearing loss. Josh is the Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist in our Norfolk and Churchland offices. He is one of the top Hearing Care Practitioners in the Beltone Network. “I am proud to continue to represent my family in this wonderful business” says Josh.
Zachary, my second son, came on board with Beltone after graduating from Christopher Newport University in 2013. He now acts as our CFO, and is also a Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist. “I’m proud of our family’s history with Beltone. I have a real compassion for the older generation and the hard of hearing.” Zach says he is excited to carry on our family legacy when I step down.
Until that time, Beltone will remain the leader in Hampton Roads at providing a superior product with leading edge technology and do so with the highest standards in customer service. That will remain a commitment to our present and future patients who choose Beltone to serve their hearing needs.
Bari and Zach Grohler on WAVY TV 10 to discuss hearing health and dementia.