In 1965, seven months after they started dating, Bobbi and Vic married. That same year, Vic’s employer transferred him to California. In their three years there, the young couple had two children: a daughter, Sharon, and a son, Beaude. By year three, though, Vic felt a pull toward his home state of Texas and requested a transfer. The company obliged, and the family headed to Dallas.
About a year after the move, Vic met a customer who pitched him on an idea. This customer wanted to go into business with Vic, but Vic—the Sahm family’s breadwinner—would have to quit his current job.
After much deliberation, he did, and Vic and his new partner created Southwest Plastics. They designed their new product—a plastic, wheel-based, self-feeding system for cattle—they manufactured it, they sold it, and upon its first use, it was an immediate failure.
“I remember one of those years, right after everything fell apart, we were raising two children and we had a total income of $6,000,” said Bobbi.
But despite the failure, Vic saw something that could be salvaged: Parts of the product—the wheels—were undeniably well-built, so he took those parts and hit the road, selling them to companies who also saw the value.
Back home, Bobbi worked the phones and handled the paperwork. With the two of them operating the business from Vic’s car and a spare bedroom, their sales went steadily up and they added more agricultural products to the line until their success spawned a second company, Maxi-Lift, which would go on to become the premier supplier of elevator buckets worldwide.
“I owe all this to my husband,” said Bobbi. “He is a visionary, a super salesman and a pain in the backside to live with sometimes, but everything we have, it’s God-given.”