The Dallas market is no stranger to great inventions, from frozen margaritas and ATMs to corny dogs and convenience stores. We have another homegrown success to call our own: Attic Ease. It’s a simple product designed to solve the problem of ugly dangling attic strings. This has filled a big need, because since the product was launched in February 2012, it has sold thousands of kits online and in stores around the country.
Attic Ease was imagined and invented by Dallasite David Jones. He was challenged by his family in 2011 to come up with “something better” than the unattractive and obtrusive attic cords on recessed attic doors that exist in an estimated 80 million homes.
That “something better” offers what Jones calls a simple, efficient, and fashionable solution to an unsightly problem, allowing homeowners to access and stage recessed residential attic stairways. Each Attic Ease kit is a complete system that includes a fashion pull ring to replace the existing cord; a solid oak reach hook that allows the attic ladder to be pulled down and closed; and a fashion storage hook for storing the reach hook when not in use.
Jones designed a prototype in his garage and went about having it manufactured and marketed, before delivering the first kits to Elliott’s Hardware in Plano in 2012.
“Elliott’s enthusiastically supported the product and has been an important outlet for us ever since,” said Jones, noting the strong local support for his invention.
Business growth this year has been dramatic, largely through Internet sales, Jones said. Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards (the three largest U.S. home improvement centers) all sell Attic Ease online. Wayfair.com came onboard earlier this year, and Amazon.com offers Attic Ease kits through nine separate re-sellers. As of September, Walmart.com is selling Attic Ease kits (and they have 45 million monthly visitors).
Home Depot has been selling the kits online for more than one year, and their success has caused them to order the kits for their 60 greater Dallas-Fort Worth stores to conduct in-store tests of the products to determine if a chain-wide roll-out will succeed.
“We are excited about the support of all of our customers, but this in-store move by Home Depot is a dramatic step in the life cycle of a relatively new consumer product,” Jones said. “If the test proves positive, which early indications are that it will, we will expect Home Depot to stock Attic Ease kits in all of its 2,300-plus stores. The simple math is that an initial order from Home Depot for all of its stores could easily exceed 50,000 kits.”
Attic Ease kits are available at retail outlets in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Illinois. Locally, Attic Ease is sold at Pierce Decorative Hardware and Plumbing (and, of course, Elliott’s in Plano and their Dallas store on Denton Tap).
Attic Ease gained distribution early through a national hardware co-op, Do It Best, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which supplies more than 5,000 stores worldwide. Do It Best has stocked kits in all eight of their distribution centers throughout the U.S. (including one in Waco) since early 2013, and have customers who sell Attic Ease worldwide.
All of this is huge news for Jones, who said this period of time is a critical juncture for Attic Ease.
“With all of our customers’ support, we continue to see Attic Ease developed into a staple hardware/home improvement product that will be and should be offered by all retailers/customers continually throughout the calendar year,” he said. “It’s been fun and humbling to have started a whole new product category and to see our product accepted by consumers everywhere.”