Dorothy Oberto is the woman behind Seattle's most successful sausage snack-makers and continues following the company motto to "have fun."
Oh boy! Dorothy Oberto!
(This is how it is at Oberto Sausage Company HQ in Kent. The meat-snack biz runs on a vat full of exclamation marks.
Company motto? Have fun!
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This brings us back to Dorothy. Pink sweater. Rainbow-colored glasses, beaded necklace of just as many colors. Purse plopped into a handy hydroplane loving cup inside her office door. Dorothy’s space is chock full of trophies and a big model of the company’s pride and joy: the U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison. Walls throughout the building are filled with art Dorothy thought would cheer the place up. The big atrium waterfall with hydroplanes splicing the falls? That was Dorothy.
Mrs. Oberto is, well, colorful.
“We never go on vacation. We only go on adventures,” she announces. “What happens if the plane is late or they don’t have your hotel room? That would ruin your vacation, but an adventure’s always an adventure!”
Dorothy oughta know. She’s been on one with her meat-snack cheerleading husband, Art, for the past 54 years.
She leans in and says conspiratorially, “We had a very romantic courtship. On Saturday night Art would bring over a wooden box with the invoices. While other people went dancing, we wrote out checks.”
Together, Dorothy and Art ran the company his dad started 90 years ago — Art peddling salami and Dorothy running the office, raising kids. They’re retired now, sort of: “We’re retired, but we’re not retired. I come by once a week or so to sign the checks. I like to say I’m the only employee who can be replaced by a stamp!”
Dorothy loves to cook. If you’re around her for any length of time she will try to feed you. What she is, really, is the company mom to hundreds of employees.
“I’m gonna have the board of directors over to dinner. Baked potato, steak and salad? That’s an idiot dinner. I think I’m going to do Czechoslovakian; make those pigs in the blanket.”
But she would just as soon leave the beef jerky to the professionals.
“I saw a recipe in Sunset magazine once, and I made it in the oven. It was awful! All brown and dry. I never made it after that.”
The adventure continues.