Climbing the startup ladder

| Print |  Email
Articles - July/August 2012
Monday, July 09, 2012

 

BY JON BELL

0712 GamePlan LadderTite 01
Ladder-Tite is a pair of brackets that attach to extension ladders securing them to gutters.
// Photo by Sierra Breshears

Ron Gandy and his son, Justin, were well into the development of their ladder-safety device, Ladder-Tite, in 2011 when Justin unexpectedly passed away at age 21. The loss nearly derailed the entire endeavor.

“It really took all the wind out of my sails,” says Gandy, a retired air traffic controller who restarted a roofing business in 2008 as a summer gig for his son. “It was extremely hard to get going again.”

After a few months, however, Gandy and his wife, Carrie, decided that to continue on would honor their son. They refocused, won $7,500 in mentoring, office space and startup cash at the Southern Oregon Angel Investment Conference in April and are now forging ahead as Rogue Valley Innovations in Grants Pass.

Their first product, Ladder-Tite, is a pair of simple aluminum brackets that attach to extension ladders and secure them to gutters or fascia boards. Gandy says the idea arose when the state required a ladder-safety program for the roofing company.

“We thought, OK, let’s do something really right,” he says.

A little research found few other devices as simple and as inexpensive as what Gandy had in mind. A little more revealed that tens of thousands of people are injured every year in ladder accidents; close to 164,000 emergency room injuries every year are related to ladders, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“There’s really a call for this kind of product,” Gandy says.

So far RVI has produced 1,000 Ladder-Tites, which are available online or at stores near Grants Pass for $29.95. Even though Gandy could have the device produced cheaper in China, he chose to keep the work closer to home. A nearby shop bends the metal, and Gandy and his wife assemble and package the units.

Although he’s not looking to expand too rapidly, Gandy says he is developing new regional markets. He’s approached Home Depot, and a national roofing company has approached RVI to develop a similar device for commercial and industrial buildings.

“We’re not looking for investors right now,” Gandy says, “but maybe down the road.”

 

More Articles

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


Read more...

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS