Nathaniel and Melissa LeBaron knew they had a great innovation, but they needed some direction and assistance towards commercialization. The LeBaron’s first visited Craig Isom and Joni Anderson at the SUU Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in November of 2012. Since then, they have had an ongoing counseling relationship with the SBDC.
The LeBaron’s product was created out of need, as most inventions are. They developed the “All-Tie Anchor Post” to tie their horses and goats to so they could graze on their property but still be contained. Because of the design of the hammers free spinning swivel feature, any animal (including dogs) tied to the post is able to circle around it and is less likely to get wrapped up in the rope. It is also very portable and easy to install and remove. In their initial meeting with the SBDC, Craig Isom suggested to modify the animal anchor post so it could be used to anchor a boat to the shore. It can also be used to attach to a winch when stuck in the mud, to secure tents, and for many other purposes. Nathaniel and Melissa now sell both sport and animal versions of their Anchor Post in several different sizes. They also have a new product called the “Splitz-All”, a wood splitter with a slide hammer mechanism derived from the Anchor Post that utilizes upper body strength and helps to prevent back strain and contortion, common problems when splitting wood with a regular axe.
The LeBaron’s entered their All-Tie Anchor Post into the Annual Best Business Idea Competition sponsored by the SUU SBDC (and others) and won the first place prize. They also applied for and received a USTAR Go to Market Grant to help fund the development of their point of sale display units. Perry Thomson, USTAR Southern Utah Associate Director said, “Nathaniel LeBaron is a true innovator. He and Melissa have successfully taken a product that they created for their own personal use and modified it to meet the demands of the general public. They continue to improve upon their initial designs to further innovate and create”.
Melissa and Nathaniel have participated in small business training events sponsored by the SBDC, and continue to utilize the resources available as demand for their products grows.