McCOMB, Ohio—It's a product 10 years in the making, evolving from one man's enthusiasm for home repairs and his long-standing involvement in the rubber hose business.
And inventor Todd Grayson has high hopes for Simple Drain, a new approach for one of the most common plumbing projects for both professional plumbers and weekend warriors alike.
Grayson, as director of product development for Crushproof Tubing Co. of McComb, remembers tackling an under-the-sink plumbing repair when things were not lining up quite as planned with rigid polyvinyl chloride drain pipe.
Then, he said, inspiration struck: He's a rubber hose guy.
"It was almost a decade ago. I'm a handy man among other things, dabble in plumbing. I had some things in my house that weren't draining right," he recalled.
Fashioning himself a handyman, he had collected an inventory of spare parts over time. You know the type.
"I couldn't find the stuff that I needed. I'm thinking, 'I make rubber hoses for a living.' I found one and thought, 'I could hook this up.' It was really jury-rigged. It was by no means what we have today," Grayson said.
But the hose worked and sparked an idea. Dozens of iterations and years of development later, Simple Drain is hitting the market. While the product is in a few hardware stores, Grayson is hoping for a big breakthrough this year by landing on big box home improvement shelves. The product also is available online at simpledrain.com.
The ease of installation allows professionals to save time and fit in more appointments. That puts more cash in their pockets. For the do-it-yourselfers, the appeal is the flexibility of the drain that will be easier to install than multi-piece rigid PVC drains, Grayson said.
"It offers some unique advantages over the traditional PVC," said Jonathan Rodebaugh, a partner with Grayson and director of operations at Crushproof Tubing. "It's that it's one piece so you don't have to worry about piecing it together. It's flexible. You don't need another hose. We make them long enough (for any project)," he said.
The 30-inch rubber hose can be trimmed to length using scissors. A plastic oval attachment allows plumbers to create a trap along the hose that's needed in plumbing, Rodebaugh said.
While the idea was a decade in the making, the entrepreneur said he wanted to wait until the timing, finances and product development dovetailed together before trying to launch the product that's good for both repairs and new construction.
"It was just a matter of testing, trial, revise. Test, trial, revise," Grayson said. "It just got the wheels turning. Over time, I refined the idea. That's what led us to the product you see today."