Four years ago Kevin Froemming was the superintendent of the Crow River Golf Course and was having a problem with the effectiveness of how the holes on the green were being cut. It's a very labor intensive process and can after doing seven holes of making holes, the quality may not be up to par, as presentation is a big key for any golf course.
“I kept thinking there's got to be a better way,” The Hutch native said. “So then I started working on an idea I had and I ended up inventing the cup cutter.”
The Power Assist Cup Cutter (PACC), according to Froemming, will reduce the physical labor of cutting holes by 90 to 95 percent. Froemming's initial goal for the PACC was for it to just be used at the Crow River Golf Course. But as others came to Froemming, asking him what that machine was, he knew that he may have something on his hands.
“I had no intention on selling or anything,” Froemming said. “I started working on a patent, then I started working on another unit that would be all electric, so it would be a cleaner unit. Fast forward it a few years, we got our patent. We built a company, got a fabrication company, got engineers on board. Now we're launching it.”
Last January at the Orlando Golf Industry Show, Kevin and his wife and partner Cassie, brought the PACC down to Florida to show off their new invention. The PACC is something that is a new idea, there is nothing else like it on the market. Which has made it a big disruption on the market according to Cassie.
“We were very swamped,” Cassie said of their booth at the show. “We were surprised by that because it was nonstop full of customers and a lot of questions on the product ... it was neat because it was a steady flow of traffic, I felt bad because other booths around us didn't get anyone visiting.”
Kevin has wanted to do something about the process of cup cutting for about 10 years. So when he went out to build the machine, he had no idea how he was going to do it, but he knew what he wanted. At first it didn't quite work how he wanted, but after a few tweaks, it worked like a charm.
“I couldn't believe it,” Kevin said. “Just with one little change it was perfect.”
Now with a new invention and patent, the next course of action for a new company is to find people to help build the machine and the dream. Two years ago, Kevin and Cassie went out to see who could help them build their machine and find an engineer. That led them to Starlight Fabrication in Litchfield to help them build the machine and Darren Nelson of Metal Head Fabrication in Marshall. Both of them have helped Kevin and Cassie as they are as much involved in the making of the PACC as anyone.
“We all misjudged how long it would take to build something like that,” Kevin said.
With creating something as involved as the PACC, it's going to cost money, a good amount of it. When applying for a loan, Kevin and Cassie were directed to the Southwest Initiative Foundation. By getting part of the loan through Southwest, they were able to use all the resources that they had to offer.
“When you're just starting out as a small business, there are a lot of resources that you get to use,” Kevin said. “If you want that, they take a lot of weight off your shoulders.”
Now, the Froemmings are in the process of trying to set up with distributors and sales reps to help find out who their potential buyers would be. There are 15,000 golf courses in the United States and 30,000 throughout the world. So there are plenty of courses around that could use something like the PACC.
“We are going after innovators,” Cassie said. “The people who are wanting to try something out of the box. They are going to be our base influencers out in the field.”
The hardest part for the Froemmings is the market. This is something that has no competition, so trying to sell something new is going to be a struggle, at least early on. Kevin and Cassie no that, but they know that if they want this adventure to succeed, they are going to have to be patient. The selling point for the PACC is that it's not a short-term answer, but something that will hold its value over-time.
“It will take 2, 3, 5 years for it to really catch hold in our mind,” Kevin said. “So it'll be a slow process getting it out there, letting people know about it and go from there.”
Going forward, the golf show in Orlando helped Kevin and Cassie with ideas from customers on what they would want the future. Things already that the Froemmings have been discussing and would want to develop when more money comes in. With a brand new invention, Kevin and Cassie will be setting the market, based on the feedback they've received, they are heading in the right direction.
“That was refreshing to hear,” Kevin said on the feedback of the PACC. “That we're on the right track. We got the right ideas moving forward, so this is the tip of the iceberg in our mind.”