Garth and Kim Getchell
Inventor Garth Getchell, profiled by The Sheet in its Nov. 29, 2008 issue (see story below) was honored this month at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.
Getchell’s new Mini-Roller Flex tool was one of 16 recipients of the prestigious 2012 Popular Mechanics “Editor’s Choice” Award. The award recognizes “Outstanding Achievement in New Product Design and Innovation.”
In a statement, the publishers said, “The Mini-Roller Flex is a problem-solving product for both professional and amateur painters. It’s an innovative solution to painting awkward corners and areas that are hard to reach.”
Getchell said his company is now an ACE Hardware vendor, and the tools are available throughout Canada and Australia. Recently, distributors placed the tools in 10 California Do-It Centers, including the Mammoth store.
From the Nov. 29, 2008 print issue of The Sheet
Getchell gizmos here!
Local entrepreneur seeks to change the way you paint
You know you’re due for a lifestyle change when you suffer a heart attack.
Especially when it happens at age 39.
So Garth Getchell, who owned a thriving construction business (30 employees, two offices) down in San Diego with his wife Kim, decided to chuck everything. The Getchells sold the business to their general manager and decided to move to Mammoth, where they owned a second home (a Snowcreek V condo purchased in 1999).
“I was a commercial general contractor for fast-paced, high-end projects. We’d do a whole floor of an office building for a top-end law firm in 60 days.”
Though Getchell said family history played some role in his heart attack, certainly the stress of a lucrative, burn-out job didn’t help.
Along comes the Flexi Brush
The Getchells didn’t really have to sit around too long casting about for something to do. It fell in their laps.
Pat McCauley, one of the Getchells former paint subcontractors, approached them for some help in launching a new invention.
“Pat’s like that crazy inventor from the Back to the Future movie series. He’s a scattered guy with advanced A.D.D. who’s just tremendously creative.”
McCauley’s invention was an update of the “painter’s extension arm.”
Getchell describes the old extension arm as the painting equivalent of the Sherwin tank. It’s literally a “Jaws of Death,” he said, a clasp-and-screw system, which is murder on the fingers if anything slips, and cumbersome to adjust.
The Flexi Brush, by contrast, is attached at the base via a plastic threader and has a fully rotational head.
As Brian Tipton of Alpine Paint, which carries the Flexi Brush, says, “It’s really good for reaching those hard to get places.”
Tipton says the Flexi Brushes haven’t been exactly flying off the rack, but some customers like John Stoltzfus have liked it so much they’ve come back for seconds.
Joe Bloomer who works locally for Caltrans and is building a house in June Lake, used the brush for high and difficult/dangerous painting on his house. His email message to Getchell was simple: “Garth, the gizmo rocks!”
Getchell’s suggested price is $29.95, and that includes two brushes. Tipton’s been selling the Flexi Brush for $25.
The base does screw into virtually every mop or broom handle, providing a certain convenience for amateurs who don’t want to expressly buy a separate handle for smaller jobs.
The more serious painter may be impressed by the Flexi Brush’s prominent display on the Poles & More website. It’s also available at epaintstore.com.
The construction slowdown derailed a potential appearance on the QVC shopping network … in America, anyway. The Getchells, however, have reached an agreement to hawk their wares on the QVC affiliate in the United Kingdom.
Sheet: You’re not literally going to go on television yourself, are you?
Getchell: What would you suggest?
Sheet: You’re trying to reach painters. What about a busty spokesmodel?
Getchell: Where would I find one?
Sheet: It’s London. Go talk to Benny Hill.
Aside from the QVC, Getchell has other marketing irons in the fire. General Coating Corp., the largest paint contractor in Southern California with about 450 painters, is also testing the product.
Meanwhile, Sherwin-Williams, the 800-pound gorilla of the paint industry, plans to test-market the Flexi Brush in 80 stores nationwide starting Jan. 15.