Leaving his home in Duluth, Minnesota at age 17, David Oreck pulled a tour of duty with the U.S. Air Force on B29's in the Pacific, after which he joined the New York City RCA wholesale distributor, where he wrote advertising copy and rose to Vice President of Sales.
While serving as advertising and sales manager for the RCA Distributor, David's entrepreneurial spirit was hard at work, introducing one small business after another. These included a television guide magazine, a cable TV company, a shuttle airline service, and a Spanish language correspondence school. In 1963 the RCA Distributorship in New York City changed ownership and David decided to strike out on his own. At this time, David received two offers. One from the Whirlpool Corporation to take over the marketing of their vacuum cleaner, and one from RCA to purchase their Louisiana distributorship in New Orleans. He did both, purchasing the RCA franchise and signing a contract with Whirlpool, whereby he agreed to provide design, marketing, sales and advertising, and Whirlpool agreed to manufacture the machines.
On his way to building one of the top five RCA distributorships in the country, David created some of the most successful promotions ever introduced in the industry. Among the most famous: the “XL” (Extended Life).
In 1964, marketing his new vacuum exclusively to hotels and motels, Oreck shipped 10,000 units. With inquiries from retail consumers that had seen the units in the hotel industry, David began redesigning the unit for domestic sales. With the introduction of the new unit, he coined the phrase, “the eight pound upright used by hotels.” By 1971, Oreck sales had increased to 100,000 units per year.
Sales continued to grow through the 70's and by 1980, David was beginning to look for a new marketing niche for his Oreck line. With the formation of VDTA, he increased the retail price of his vacuum line to include top profits, and increased wholesale prices to include national advertising programs for the specialty dealers. He then launched a national advertising program, including full page ads in major metropolitan markets, backed by advertising spots on America's top talk radio shows. Through these programs, Oreck sales have continued to increase each year.
1995 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee