The Coach & the Cowboy ~ The G S Grips Story
It's amazing how things can happen, how ideas can come about. In the case of G S Grips it's an unlikely story of two people visiting over the Christmas Holidays and developing a business from an idea a progressive gymnastics coach had.
"Coach" had an idea that he wanted to try out, he hadn't been coaching in this community for very long but he had a friend that had his daughter enrolled in the gymnastics program that he coached. His friend was a cowboy that was used to fixing his own saddles and headstalls, etc. "Cowboy" was used to working with his hands, fixing and building things.
As the "Coach" explained to the "Cowboy" what he had in mind, a grip that would be safer for the girls and would prevent the grips from slipping off the ends of their fingers during a routine, the "Coach" needed some advice on leather and putting together a prototype.
"Cowboy" said he would be happy to work up some models (based on what the "Coach" had in mind), so the unlikely pair set to work. After about a year of trial and error, testing and frustration....they came on a design they felt would work.
"Coach" had his mind on the "fingerlock" solution and "Cowboy" thought about incorporating the wrist protection neoprene, so the girls wouldn't need any more separate wristbands. Less parts for the girls to loose!
"Cowboy" and his wife went to work and started building these grips all by hand, cutting out each piece and sewing them together and shipping them out. As the evolution of G S Grips came to pass and the design worked, they were determined to protect their ideas and set out to get the grips patented.
After a lot of work, and dealing with the tangled web of the Patent Office and their requirements. G S Grips were patented and the company was off to a start, how fast would it grow? Where was this idea going to lead the "Coach" and the "Cowboy"?
It was slow starting, bringing in new ideas and design to a sport can take a while before acceptance is gained. In the meantime, the "Coach" got an exciting offer to coach at a bigger gym and he went his way. "Cowboy" and his wife continued to cut material and make grips until the wee hours of the morning. They both had other jobs and would labor weekends and all hours of the day and night, but things kept growing.
The "Coach" was bought out by "Cowboy" and his wife, the business slowly grew, acceptance of this novel idea started to take root across the country. The main focus of the "Cowboy" and his wife was not to be the biggest....just offer good service and back up the product quality materials and a warranty.
G S Grips has sold its products in Australia, Scotland, England, Canada, and Chile and have been taken to Russia. G S Grips' main concern is not to get to be the biggest, just offer friendly service and a product that girls (and men) can enjoy and feel good about.
The small town philosophy used by the "Cowboy" and his wife has served them well. We want to "Do unto others...." and in turn they can keep making gymnasts safer and happier all around the country.
Kedo & Marilee Olson
the "Cowboy" & Wife