Kauffman frees his time to make sales calls and direct all sales operations by moving Charlie Hughes from sales to serve as office manager and oversee administrative operations. The company builds a new facility at 29th and Grand. The 8,000 square foot space is spacious enough to house 65 Marion associates and the company’s first private offices and conference room, with enough room left over to lease space to a wholesale grocer.
By June 1959, Marion achieves annual sales of one million dollars. In April 1960, the company moves to new headquarters, a fitting way to mark the company’s remarkable first decade.
“He was built around completion to succeed. He was always setting goals, not only for himself, but for other people. He promised us if you stay and you work hard and you build this company, then you will share in the profits … there was a banding together. That’s why we grew strong.”— Ben Blackshire, Associate, Marion Labs
Tragedy strikes the Kauffman family when, after suffering from chronic health issues, Marguerite dies unexpectedly just before Christmas in 1960. Grief-stricken, Kauffman pours himself into the demands of managing a growing and increasingly complex organization. His drive to provide for his family, which had always been important to him, becomes all-consuming.
On September 11, 1961, it begins to rain in Kansas City. The downpour continues for three days in the wake of Hurricane Carla, one of the most severe tropical storms ever recorded in the United States. Although the Blue River is a quarter mile from the headquarters of Marion Labs, Ewing Kauffman is concerned to see water rising and reports of flash flooding. He begins calling on Marion associates. They respond by renting moving vans, filling sandbags to stem the rising river, and organizing a team to find warehouse space to store and ship for Marion products. Marion associates box up products, load trucks, move records to the top of filing cabinets, and use pulleys to hoist heavy equipment off the floor. Floodwaters rise to three and a half feet and don't recede for two days, but thanks to the resourcefulness and quick action of the Marion team, the company continues to process, fill, and ship orders from makeshift facilities without missing a beat.
Marion introduces its first blockbuster drug, Pavabid, a time-released medication that relaxes blood vessels and aids blood flow to the brain for neurology patients. In 1962 company net sales are almost $3 million. Four years later, they are $8 million. By the end of fiscal year 1970, net sales top $30 million, with Pavabid accounting for 45% of Marion’s sales.