BY MARIA KACIK
A tech wizard by trade, Mitch Holden ventured into the inventorâ€™s world when he saw a problem that needed to be solved.
â€œThis all started, basically, because I got sick of kicking scooters around,â€ Holden said while sitting in his Medina Township office. As vice president of DFR Group, he spends his days developing business applications for BlackBerry smart phones.
But at the end of the workday, the Strongsville resident goes home to his 7- and 10-year-old sons, both of whom own the lightweight, nonmotorized Razor scooters.
â€œTheyâ€™ve had scooters since they were 4, 5 years old,â€ Holden said. He explained the scooters do not stand on their own and he often found them lying on his garage floor.
â€œI tried a couple different things. I went to Home Depot and got some different hooks to try to figure out how to get these things out of my way,â€ he said. But the hooks would fall shortly after he hung them.
Strongsville resident Mitch Holden said he got tired of picking up his sonsâ€™ nonmotorized Razor scooters off the garage floor. After a few unsuccessful attempts to corral the Razors, Holden created the Scooter Grabber. Made of yellow ABS plastic, the product holds the scooters in place. (Andrew Dolph | Staff Photographer)
Thus, Holden set out to invent the Scooter Grabber, a plastic container that holds the scooters in place.
The Scooter Grabber is now produced in a warehouse in Medina. The product is made of yellow ABS plastic. â€œThe same plastic Legos are made out of,â€ Holden explained.
He and his partner, DFR Group president Dennis Reese, began to market the product. They set up a Web site, where customers can purchase the containers for $19.99 for one and $36 for two. The Scooter Grabber also is being sold at Rabbitâ€™s Foot Garden Center in Medina Township.
He explained he also is â€œmaking slow progressâ€ with some distributors and some big-box stores.
Between the Web site and Rabbitâ€™s Foot, Holden said he has sold around 1,000 Scooter Grabbers.
â€œBasically, what the feeling seems to be is if someone sees it and they have scooters they typically buy one because thereâ€™s no other way to deal with your scooters,â€ Holden said. â€œItâ€™s durable. Itâ€™s easy to use. You donâ€™t have to mount it to your walls. You donâ€™t have to measure.
â€œYou just put it against the wall and tell your kids to use it. And if they donâ€™t, throw their scooters away,â€ he joked.
Holden said his children now use the Scooter Grabber and he no longer has to pick up scooters from his garage floor.
â€œAs they say, necessity is the mother of invention. And thatâ€™s what it was. Itâ€™s not like it is the biggest problem in the world. But itâ€™s a problem,â€ he said.
And thatâ€™s the connection between his venture with the Scooter Grabber and his business at DFR Group.
â€œThatâ€™s also primarily what we do with our other business. Our wireless applications identify problems businesses have and see if thereâ€™s a solution for these using a wireless device,â€ he said.
Cathy Addessi and Kenny Lamtman have owned Hinckley Barber and Styling at 53 W. 130th St., Hinckley Township, for 15 years. And the barber shop dates back to more than 15 years prior to their ownership.
â€œMost of (our customers) have been coming forever. We started cutting the kids when they were little and now theyâ€™re all grown up,â€ Addessi explained.
Now, Lamtman is moving on, but Hinckley Barber and Styling will remain. This time, the next generation will step in.
Lamtman will continue to cut hair at the shop, but Brooke Pietrovito will join Addessi as co-owner.
Addessi explained Lamtman wanted to lessen his responsibilities at the shop as he moved toward retirement, and the younger Pietrovito stepped in to bring fresh perspective to the barber shop.
â€œWeâ€™re just hoping to build up more clientele,â€ Addessi said.
On Sept. 13, Hinckley Barber and Styling will have a grand reopening event to celebrate Pietrovitoâ€™s new position. She said the event may include food and discounts on services.
Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.