The AWEVATOR is a space-saving elevating rolling shelf system for residential or business use. With the push of a button, each shelf lifts up to 200 lbs to store items such as mowers, power washers, generators and snow blower out of the way until needed again. Safety pins ensure the shelf is not accidentally pulled. To operate, put elevator in position to store, pull out the clevis pins, flip the angle arms out and down, and voila it's out of the way!
Tell me about your business, where did the idea come from?I'm a contractor and do remodeling and other work for homeowners. It seems like I always had all this STUFF and equipment all over my storage building and garage. The smaller stuff, I could put on shelves, but the larger things were more of a problem. Other storage systems had options but I couldn't use a hook on the wall for a lawnmower, for example. All the gas would run out. It's got to be stored flat. So I got to thinking about mechanical shelving.
Do you think that your military experience helped you get your business off the ground?I was a winch operator on a ship. I made things go up and down basically, so I was always thinking, "Why lug something up a couple flights of stairs if you can turn a crank to get it there?" That's kind of the thought process I went through to invent my mechanized elevating shelf system.
What kind of help did you look for when you were starting out?I wanted to look into patenting my idea. I went to UMaine, the Maine Patent Program and then to MTI for a seed grant. They sent me to the Mane SBDC to get help putting together a seed grant proposal which I won. I had some testing done at USM, too. SBDC also helped me work on a display and get into home shows.
What kinds of challenges have you had?I have trouble getting certain parts in the US which was kind of a surprise, and I have to get them overseas. Also, the patent application process was tough. I got some mixed messages, drawings needed to be redone which I ended up doing myself, some documents needed to be filed again. But I did finally get patent pending status. That was a big accomplishment.
What kinds of things have you done to promote your business?I talk to everyone about it and I've been to some local businesses like hardware stores that might want to sell it. I have a website and I did a YouTube video. I've been to some home shows this year and at the last one I swear I had those shelves go up and down more than 700 times. The Journal Tribune did an article on my business this past August. That was a good one.
What are you hoping for in the future?There are always improvements to make and I'm working through some of those now. I'm definitely looking for just the right complementary business to work with and have these as part of their product line and I might look into government contracting. Fred Warner
AWEVATOR by Awesome http://www.awevator.com/home
January 2008 – Present