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Syracuse, New York
By: Charles McChesney
July 05, 2012
Salina, NY -- If you’ve ever had the flow of water stop while you were washing the car or watering the garden because the hose got caught under a tire or kinked on a corner or was just too twisted, you know the frustration Jay Bernhardt felt.
But Jay Bernhardt was in the position to do something about it.
He owns JGB Enterprises, a hose supplier in Salina. After three years of engineering and testing – including a year’s research with Syracuse University - Bernhardt’s company introduced what it says is a “kink-free” hose.
JGB Enterprises calls the new product “The Perfect Garden Hose” and started selling under the “Tuff-Guard” brand. In the first half of this year, JGB sold 20,000 of them, said James Thayer, who handles business development at JGB.
The hose was developed at JGB and is marketed and distributed by the Salina company. The company applied for a patent on the product and put in for copyright protection on the Tuff-Guard brand name as well as “The Perfect Garden Hose,” said Thayer.
The hose itself is made elsewhere in the United States, said Executive Vice President Stephon Starrantino.
The hose features a “double helix” design that lets it keep water flowing, even when bent in half or knotted up, Starrantino said. In a company video, a demonstrator ties the hose up in three knots but the water flows still.
The fittings at the end of the hose are different as well. The inner dimensions are the same as those hose itself, allowing more water to flow. It weighs less than a conventional hose as well, said Starrantino.
The Tuff-Guard brand is the company’s first step into the consumer market, Thayer said.
Since 1977, JGB was known as a maker and supplier of industrial hoses. In the past decade the company has succeeded in the defense market, providing the Air Force with water purification systems and, last year, landing a contract with the Marine Corps for fuel and water systems that could be worth $99 million over five years.
The company doubled sales to $74 million between 2000 and 2010 and expects sales will break $100 million this year, Starrantino said.
That growth has brought more workers. There are 230 workers at JGB, up from 195 a year ago.
The new hose, which is available at True Value, Do It Best and Ace Hardware, Sears, and other major retailers, could be just the beginning of JGB’s expansion into the consumer market, said Thayer.
“This is our entry into the consumer market,” Starrantino said. “We plan to pursue it.”