40 Years in in the Grommet Business
As we reflect on 40 years in business, we look back to where it all started – the Grommet. We had one grommet in two colors. In a box. In the garage. The year was 1980, twins on the way, no money in the bank, and we wondered how in the world we were going to get the word out about these grommets to get the business off the ground. And fast. We sent out 400 letters to 400 furniture makers explaining how these grommets work to run cabling up through the desk and included a sample grommet with the letter. Then we waited. And then miraculously the phone started ringing. As anyone in the direct mail marketing biz knows, even getting a 2% return on an unsolicited mailer is quite successful. We were fortunate enough to get lots of call backs! Unbelievable. And thankfully, the phone never stopped ringing since.
And as they say, the rest is history.
Except there were a lot of other growing pains along the way. We quickly started making different sized grommets which required new molds. And we started offering different colors too. A big undertaking early on that quickly forced us out of the garage and into a crude office space to house all this new inventory. We patented the Flip-Top® grommet early on so it could be used as a solid cap cover if it didn’t need to serve as a pass-thru but simply to cover a hole, but the Flip-Top® tab could always be popped down at a later time if needed to bury a phone cord or any other cables beneath the desk.
It was less than a year later in 1981 when someone asked a very simple and very valid question that we simply hadn’t thought about yet: What do I do with the wires after they go through the desk? Hm. So we started making extruded plastic wire managers for behind the desk and under the desk to run cables.
Then someone asked if we made Table Legs for the desks. Hadn’t thought about it, but sure, why not? Off we went sourcing materials from local fabricators. What about drawer pulls for the desk? Again, sure, why not? Suddenly, our catalog was growing with more and more specialty items. 5 years after inception, in 1985, we introduced our first Annual Design Competition. Since it was becoming quite clear that our customers had very specific demands and our main goal was to serve those needs, we thought it best to host a competition to allow designers and architects to submit their own ideas to see if it was something we can make for them. Something that they would find useful would surely benefit others in the market and the designer could enjoy royalties based on sales. Now in its 35th year, it has been a very successful program!
Now here we are in 2020, the most unusual year of our lifetime. But after the dust settles, we promise to still offer those same problem-solving design solutions and those same original classic grommets with Flip-Top® tabs that are still as useful as ever 40 years later! We are here for you, and we thank you for being a part of our journey.