FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Jessica Koth
WISCONSIN DELLS, WIS, October 2004—Talk about irony. Brothers Gary and Steve Kowalke, and Steve’s brother-in-law Tim Sprecher, who grew up near the “waterpark capital of the world,” Wisconsin Dells, Wis., have introduced a unique water concept of their own.
The HoseWell™, a compact product that allows homeowners to store their garden hoses out of sight on a reel that is concealed underground, is the next phase of lawn tool storage. A simple lift, twist and swing of the reel makes the garden hose ready to use again. When the HoseWell™ is not in use an attractive lid disguises it.
According to Steve Kowalke, who visited homes as an electrician, there had to be a better way to store garden hoses.
“I saw beautiful homes with unsightly garden hose reels bolted to the front of the house. I’ve also seen stand-alone garden hose reels that were broken or not even being used because they didn’t work properly. That’s where the idea for HoseWell™ came from,” he said.
It took Steve, Gary and Tim about five years and a sizable investment in prototype development, patent application fees and an initial product run to develop HoseWell™ as it is known today.
“We wanted to create a product that we would want to use. The biggest challenge we faced was the design process—creating a product that lived up to our vision. It took us longer than we expected to create a quality product with unique features,” Steve said.
One of those innovative features is the environmentally safe, weatherproof high-grade plastic well that stored the garden hose underground. A low profile cover sits even with the ground and tops off the well. The lid comes in three colors (stone, taupe or green) to match any landscape. The lid and well allow homeowners to keep their garden hose and HoseWell™ in the ground year-round—no more hauling it in and out of storage.
“Another challenge for us was marketing and selling our product. When we were developing the prototypes and talking to people in the lawn and garden industry, we received a lot of great feedback, but no one was placing a big order. But word is spreading and in a few short months, with very little marketing support, we’re seeing sales are starting to come in,” Gary said.
Since production began in Spring 2004, about 800 HoseWells™ have been sold though catalog orders (Improvement, Gardener Supply and Grandin Road catalogs) and through www.hosewell.com. It is their hope to sell about 20,000 in the next year.
To further boost the buzz about HoseWell™, Gary noted that they have a verbal agreement with the television shopping channel QVC and that they have launched public relations and advertising effort. In addition, sales representatives are talking with garden supply stores about stocking HoseWell™ in Spring 2005.
“The biggest lesson we have learned, and what we would want to share with others who have an idea for a new product is that you’ve got to be persistent—you can’t quit,” Steve said. “Only about three percent of the ideas and products that are patented actually make it onto the store shelves. It’s a daunting statistic, but it can be done. We’re beating the odds and on the verge of being on store shelves.
“We’re proud of what we developed. Sometimes what makes a lawn or garden beautiful is what you don’t see. HoseWell™ takes unsightly garden hoses and hides them from view so you can enjoy the natural beauty of your garden,” brother Gary Kowalke adds.
HoseWell™ is available for order through www.hosewell.com for $59.95.
# # #