PINEWOOD—Rick Pollard was just looking for an easy way to cover his outdoor equipment in the bush. Tarps just weren’t cutting it for him, and he disliked the time he had to spend tying it down.
After years of designing, building, and experimenting, a tent-like structure—dubbed the SpeedShield—was born.
“I set it up in our yard, lifted up one end and the way we designed it, it closed by itself,” Pollard recalled. “We looked at each other and said, ‘This is good.’”
The Stratton couple decided then they had a product they wanted to share with the rest of the world.
“We did a lot of searching to see if anyone else had something like this because you don’t want to get in anyone’s business,” Pollard noted. But after coming up empty-handed, they hired a lawyer and got things moving.
“It was a big job—a lot of work has gone into this,” stressed Rhonda Pollard, noting materials needed to be shipped, equipment purchased, the name trademarked, and a patent applied for.
“Then we needed the labels, packaging, and insurance—there was a lot of searching right down to the type of thread we use.
“Now we’re starting on the marketing,” she added, saying their patent-pending product is now available for purchase. In fact, their first shipment was sent to dealers in Atikokan, Thunder Bay, Saskatchewan, and British Colombia last week.
“It’s very versatile and durable,” Pollard remarked. “It’s a great way to keep items like four-wheelers, snowmobiles, and riding lawnmowers out of the weather.”
She added their product withstands harsh weather elements, and is a fast and inexpensive solution to help prevent rusting, wet seats, fading, rotting, moisture in cables, deterioration, and dust build-up on outdoor equipment.
“It also freed up a lot of room in our garage,” she stressed.
Not only did the pair develop the idea for the SpeedShield, but they also have rented the Pinewood Hall to be used as their factory, where they build each cover.
Rhonda Pollard uses her industrial sewing machine to sew the heavy duty, U.V.-tested material while her husband fabricates the rust-free steel rods which hold the shape of the structure.
“It’s just the two of us now, but we want to expand,” Rick Pollard said. “We’ve got quite a few people wanting to work and I think we’re going to need the help.”
He noted he and Rhonda can fully manufacture one SpeedShield in four hours, but he’d like to be producing 10-15 a day.
“Since it’s a new product, and everyone likes a new product, we’ll have the market for the whole world,” he enthused. “The biggest thing is to get it out there so people can see how it works.”
Rainy River District residents may have seen the SpeedShield at the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s home and leisure show earlier this year and then at the Emo fair last month.
The product comes fully assembled, with exception of four spring pins for base extensions (which are colour-coded) and four bolts for straps.
And it’s useable from both ends with a unique drive in, drive out feature.
But the pair said the best thing about the SpeedShield is revealed in it’s name—it’s quick and easy to set up. Once the extensions are put in place, the lightweight structure unfolds quickly and easily.
“It’s hassle-free with no doors, zippers, pegs, or snaps to break or fumble with,” Rick Pollard noted. “It uses a simple lock down system and is easy to move around your yard.
“I like things done fast quick and tough,” he stressed.
Two sizes of the SpeedShield are now available, with the largest
Please see “Stratton,” B10
But Pollard has many more ideas he’d like to expand on, such as fashioning different coloured covers and creating ones geared toward hunters and fishermen.
“We’ve missed hunting season this year, but we’ll be ready for next year,” he vowed, adding there will be windows inside them for light and ventilation.
He noted with the recent development of their website (www.speedshield.net), people can see their product—and they seem interested.
“I think it’s going to take off,” Pollard remarked. “We’re just starting out. Now the phone is starting to ring. We wanted to be ready and prepared.”
In the meantime, they still are looking for someone to maintain the website and sell the SpeedShield over the Internet.
“I hope people know that there is a lot of development behind this product,” he stressed. “It has been tested—I pretty much did everything but drag it behind my half-ton—and we’re always looking at different ways to improve it.”
(Fort Frances Times)