Phil Castle, The Business Times
Dave and Jenny Hall found themselves at an entrepreneurial crossroads.
The Grand Junction couple wanted to continue growing the company they founded four years ago and sell more of the organizational systems they’ve invented. But they also knew taking their operation to the next level would require far more money and resources — as well as present considerably more risk.
They decided on what Dave Hall considers a bittersweet way forward — to sell their venture, but to a larger company that can build on what they started.
The Halls sold Glideware to Rev-A-Shelf, a cabinet storage and accessories manufacturer based in Kentucky that’s considered a leader in the industry. Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed.
“Jenny and I couldn’t be more excited about this,” Dave Hall says.
“We are proud of what we have accomplished since introducing Glideware in 2013 and could not have selected a better company to continue its success.”
David Noe, general manager of Rev-A-Shelf, says Glideware constitutes a good fit for his company and its product lines. “We have a lot of respect for Dave and Jenny and the creative work they’ve done to bring innovative new ideas to the accessory/organization category. … These are versatile products that resonate in many applications, and we expect our broad exposure to provide even more success to the line.”
Established in 1978 as a division of Jones Plastic & Engineering, Rev-A-Shelf initially manufactured plastic and metal components for lazy Susan trays in corner cabinets. Rev-A-Shelf since has grown into a supplier of thousands of cabinet and organizational accessories, including kitchen drawer organizers, pantry pullouts and cabinet lighting systems.
Dave Hall says he’s comfortable with Rev-A-Shelf taking over Glideware. “They were always the company we were trying to become.”
While Glideware had become profitable, Hall says it would have taken millions of dollars to take the operation to the next step — and that would have required either financing or investors.
The alternative would have been to keep the operation smaller, but that “would have felt like a step backwards,” Hall says.
Rev-A-Shelf offers the resources to enable Glideware products to compete in a national market and achieve another goal of Hall’s — to make the brand a household name. “We really see big things out of Glideware, and we always did.”
Moreover, the acquisition constitutes what Hall considers a happy ending to an entrepreneurial story that started with an idea and a sketch. “This was a success story.”
The Halls invented Glideware as a solution to a problem: organizing pots and pans piled up inside kitchen cabinets. Jenny believed there had to be a better way to store cookware without all the hassle, so she drew a crude sketch of an extendable rail with hooks from which pots and pans could hang. Dave surprised her one day by actually constructing and installing the device. Dave used cabinet glides and wood to fashion an extendable rail with a gap in the center through which metal hooks could be suspended.
The Halls soon realized they’d created a product with potential for commercial production for organizing not only cookware, but also brooms and mops, purses and a variety of other items. The Halls filed for patent protection, found a manufacturer and launched Glideware with the $34,000 they raised through a Kickstarter campaign.
The Halls received validation they were on to something in winning one of the four top awards presented at the 2014 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, an event billed as the largest kitchen and bath trade show in the nation. Glideware subsequently grabbed the attention of everyone from cabinet dealers and manufacturers to magazine editors and cable television producers.
While the Halls initially sold Glideware storage systems directly to customers online, they subsequently developed a network of dealers and distributors to sell their products.
The Halls further expanded their operation earlier this year with the introduction of a device they branded the Not-So-Lazy Susan for corner cabinets. The system features an upper organizer and lower storage shelf. There’s room for a total of seven to 10 pots and pans to hang from adjustable hooks.
Dave Hall says the development of the Not-So-Lazy Susan and a product competing directly with Rev-A-Shelf likely played a role in the acquisition.
As part of that transaction, Hall will work for Rev-A-Shelf as a consultant at least through February.
Hall says he’s not sure what will happen after that — whether he’ll continue working for Rev-A-Shelf, work as a consultant for other startups, resume what had been a lengthy career in construction management or maybe even launch another venture. “I’m just kind of going into this thing open to any kind of possibility or opportunity.”