FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Aug. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- An inventor and avid backpacker working with the entrepreneurial program Moonshot at NACET has landed two major distribution deals for her next-generation bear-resistant food container, including one with outdoor recreation powerhouse REI.
Holly Jaleski said the inspiration for Grubcan came to her while she was out on the trail when her bear-resistant canister in her pack kept "stabbing" her in the back. Frustrated, she told her husband, an engineer, that they needed to create a container that could be easily opened but also fit neatly into a pack like a tent.
With the help of Moonshot, Jaleski went from concept to minimum viable product in record time. In early 2020, she met with Kiersten Hathcock, Moonshot mentor and Shark Tank-winning entrepreneur, to discuss possible avenues for distribution. Jaleski was working part-time at the Flagstaff, Arizona REI co-op at the time and Hathcock discovered that the company was sponsoring a nationwide innovator contest.
More than 500 ideas for products were submitted, and Jaleski was one of 35 finalists chosen to meet with REI buyers in Washington state. Moonshot flew her to Seattle where she secured a vendor partnership. Last December, REI ordered 4000 Grubcan units.
Grubcan is made from the same material as bulletproof windows and fits easily in or tied to a backpack. The unique gravity latch keeps bears from getting into the canister but allows people to open it easily without tools. Grubcan has been certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, which tests bear-resistant products.
The first 200 Grubcan units distributed through REI sold out in two days, and in coming months Liberty Mountain Distribution will begin distributing the canisters to smaller brick and mortar stores across the country. Buyers can also purchase the product on the tuffystuffy.com website.
Jaleski credits Moonshot at NACET for providing the support, education, mentorship and networking opportunities she needed to bring Grubcan to market.
"I loved being part of entrepreneurship class with other startup founders," Jaleski said. "The class content provided a backbone for great conversations with my fellow classmates. We helped one another by offering suggestions and support. To this day, I still keep in touch with and support several Moonshot graduates."
For more information on Grubcan, go to tuffystuffy.com.
For more information on Moonshot at NACET, visit moonshotaz.com.
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