Hear, hear: Father, son create new hearing aid battery business
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Entrepreneur RJ Pole and his dad Bob Pole recently started hearOclub, a hearing aid subscription battery delivery service they believe addresses a serious problem they first noticed when it impacted someone they loved.
“There are 10 million people in the U.S. that are wear hearing aids, so the market is pretty big,” RJ said. “Since a lot of people who depend on hearing aids can’t drive to the store themselves and a lot live in wellness centers, I think this is an important need.”
RJ was inspired by his grandmother who lives in a retirement home in Chicago. He said he noticed how many older folks were depending on batteries for their hearing aids when he visited his grandmother there.
“Hearing aid batteries can run out in less than week, so people go through them really quickly,” RJ said. “They constantly need to re-supply, and in nursing homes and in senior centers, people must rely on caretakers and loved ones to make sure they don’t run out of batteries.”
RJ said his dad’s long-running relationship with DieHard batteries allowed him to partner with a distribution center in Wisconsin where the batteries are received, repackaged and sent to individual customers who have signed up for the service at https://www.hearoclub.com.
“We are very focused on making sure that people are always able to hear,” Bob said. “It may seem a little silly because you can say, ‘Hey, I’ll just run out to the store,’ but there are a lot of people in places, like Cassy’s Pond for example, or in rural places where they have to drive 30 miles to a Walgreens just to get batteries.”
RJ and Bob believe their new business will help ease the minds of those who rely on hearing aids and the families that care for them.
HearOclub offers two plans for customers depending on how many hearing aids they have. The first plan, designed for customers with one hearing aid, delivers 16 batteries every other month for $14. The second plan, intended for those with two hearing aids, delivers 32 batteries every other month for $26. Customers can choose from the most commonly used batteries available.
“We are very excited about what we are doing,” Bob said. “We are just getting started, and we are thrilled to be running the business out of Steamboat Springs.”
The company began operations about four months ago and has three employees including RJ and Bob. The biggest challenge has been making people aware the battery delivery service is available.
“Anybody can sign up,” RJ said. “We have customers in Nebraska, in rural areas and people in retirement homes in Chicago. Because it is web based, we can live anywhere and cater to customers anywhere in the country.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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