DARIEN, Conn. --- Ben Grunow, owner of Grunow Builders Inc ., is forever tinkering in his Darien workshop. So, a couple years ago when the weather was warm and the top was off the family's Jeep Wrangler, Ben and his wife, Dana, noticed their kids were not using the doors of the vehicle, but were instead jumping over the side into the back.
"Our kids loved climbing over the sides to get to the backseat and it was hard and sharp -- just a narrow strip of metal with exposed holes," said Dana. That's when Ben, who grew up in Old Greenwich, decided to create custom BedBoards, basically pieces of varnished wood or black king starboard that screw into factory holes that made it easier for the kids to jump in and out.
"We drove the Jeep around town and it seemed like everyone with a Jeep asked us where we got them," said Dana.
Thus, the idea for the Hard Wood Workshop was born. It took about a year to get the company up and running, but as of March 21, they are online and ready to take orders.
So far, the response has been tremendous. "We went from 150 Instagram followers to over 1,000 in just a week by connecting with industry influencers who spread the word about our product," said Dana. "People in the Jeep world love any new gadgets and often comment that they can’t believe Jeep doesn’t make this already."
The company has had orders placed from all over the U.S. including Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Illinois. (Items can be customized with the Darien Blue Wave, a logo or a monogram).
Dana said it’s been great working with her husband and creating something fun together. "We can all get bogged down with our daily lives and jobs; who doesn’t want to think about taking the top off the Jeep and going for a ride in the summer?" she said.
"It’s a fun, positive message to our kids, too, that you can create something that’s never been done before," added Ben.
"Our kids are nine and almost 12 so they 'get it' and always ask about our 'Jeep Sticks' and if we’ve made any more sales. We hope we'll continue to now that warm weather is here and all the Jeeps will come out of hibernation."
Go to www.thehardwoodworkshop.com/ for more details.
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