June 16, 2005 at 7:07 a.m.
When he got back to his place on Big Green Lake he set to tinkering in his garage. He took a bandsaw and sliced and trimmed away a length of 4 inch pvc pipe and bolted a ruler to it. He had just created the proto-type of an item now being distributed all over the U.S. and Canada.
His wife Patricia dubbed the gizmo the Measurette-N-Release. Martin owns the name and has been in the patenting process for longer than he ever imagined; but soon should also have the patent.
The Measurette-N-Release is, “...extremely user friendly, and even the fish seem to relax when you lay them in it” Martin explains. “It pretty much eliminates having to handle the fish,” he added.
You butt the fish’s snout up against the closed end for an accurate measurement. The trough section cradles the fish while all you do is read the length, in raised metric or regular numbers, printed along the bottom of the plastic unit. To release the fish you tip the trough and out he slides.
Martin is in his third year of marketing and selling the Measurette-N-Release. He didn’t have an audit at his fingertips but guessed he’s probably sold 2,500 of the 30 inch units and a few more than 1,000 of the 20 inch ones.
“I have been told it’s at least three to five years before I’ll make any money, but we are starting to get a little traction,” he continued. Retailers and wholesalers are calling him because people ask for the unit at stores.
Martin retired four years ago from a career as a manufacturer’s rep; where he would beat the pavement for brand new items like Gardettos snack mix, Halls throat lozenges, Mike and Ike’s candy... you get the picture. “I like pioneering a product, I like the challenge,” he said of getting the word out. “It’s in my background and it’s fun still.”
Convincing someone to take a chance on a new product is second nature to Martin, but other facets of this adventure are brand new.
Finding a manufacturer and getting the design for the plastic injection mold was a learning experience. Martin found MNR Products in Little Falls willing to work with him. The inches and centimeters didn’t transpose exactly into the plastic tube shape, so adjustments had to calculated to allow for plastic shrinkage, he explained. The last thing he wanted was an inaccurate device.
The mold for the injection process weighs 2,800 pounds. He continued, “I saw them put the whole thing together and watched the first one come out,” on the production line.
Then Martin had to connect with sporting goods distributors and get known in the networks that supply those places.
He’s often on the road demonstrating the Measurette-N-Release at fishing and camping goods stores. Some excursions launch great new friendships and other places are a bust. Martin now knows which is which.
The Measurette-N-Release is stocked all the way from Tennessee to northern points in this hemisphere. When a reporter suggests it would be poetic justice if all conservation officers carried standard-issue Measurette-N-Release, he smiles. You can tell he’s already given that sales pitch some thought.
For information or to order a Measurette-N-Release feel free to contact George Martin at 651-257-6280.
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