AIKEN - Gary and Susan Anderson have soothed chafed bottoms for more than 20 years.
The business of buttocks ointment isn't the most glamorous work, but as many parents will tell you, the ability to comfort a chafed child can at times seem like a gift from above.
"I know how frustrating it can be to have a crying baby," said Mrs. Anderson, the mother of three grown daughters.
It was Mr. Anderson and his fellow pharmacy school graduate, Kevin Floyd, who stumbled upon the recipe.
The men were working in Charleston after graduating from the Medical University of South Carolina, and local physicians kept sending desperate parents their way for soothing solutions.
The soon-to-be business partners found that remedies off the shelf weren't always enough and put their apothecary skills to work. One recipe containing Peruvian balsam proved most effective.
"Parents would try a lot of different things, and that was the only difference with ours," said Mr. Anderson, who moved his family to Aiken in 1986 to be closer to family.
When the creamy, tan concoction began to catch on, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Floyd decided to capitalize on the idea and formed Flanders Buttocks Ointment, combining both of their last names.
Part of the goal, Mr. Anderson said, was to create a money-making venture that would allow their spouses to work from home and take care of their children, too.
There were some bumps in the road, including the Food and Drug Administration, which scrutinized the product to the point that it had to be manufactured in an approved facility in New York.
"We really thought we could make it up ourselves," Mrs. Anderson said. "Then you have these three big letters: FDA."
But after years of mailing samples across the country, tubes of the ointment are widely distributed in doctor's offices and pharmacies across the Southeast.
Mr. Floyd continues to distribute the cream out of Charleston, while the Andersons market the product from Aiken.
They boxed samples in their house until the project grew too large. The couple are still trying to expand the business and is getting help from the Tri-Development Center of Aiken County, an agency that assists the mentally handicapped.
Now the product is helping people before it's even used.
Participants at Tri-Development package samples for the Andersons and mail 300 to 1,000 boxes every month, said Frankie Braswell, a product supervisor at the center.
"It's just so simple, but to our people it's the greatest job in the world," Ms. Braswell said.
Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GARY AND SUSAN ANDERSON
Ages: Mr. Anderson, 52; Mrs. Anderson, 51
Family: Three grown daughters; one grandson
Claim to Fame: Co-founders of Flanders Buttocks Ointment