In 2003 Kim Digenakis was working for an awning company when he saw the demand for telescoping poles drastically increase. His company was unable to step up and fulfill the market need. Kim’s desire to take advantage of the opportunity led to a full-time entrepreneurial venture resulting in the formation of Telepole in 2004.
In a continuous pursuit of a better product, Kim turned to the staff and student engineering consultants of the Bucknell Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Engineering Development Services for assistance with product development and improvement. In a series of projects, consultants suggested concept designs for improved flagpole weatherability, strength, locking capability, and ease of manufacturing. Numerous computer aided design (CAD) models and rapid prototypes were made to help verify the form, fit, and function of components. In addition, new manufacturing processes were researched and his company’s quality control procedures were improved.
The SBDC assistance provided to Kim helped him bring a new and improved telescoping pole to market, which he proudly named the “Superior 1.” With a winning combination of industry-leading product quality, proactive customer service, and relentless marketing, his company has been able to grow and prosper even during the dire economic conditions of the past few years.
Telepole’s sales have increased by 40% over the past year and his company has grown from annual sales of $150,000 to nearly $500,000. With increased sales came the need for increased staffing resulting in 3 additional jobs created over the past year.
Additionally, Telepole has recently started exporting to Canada and wholesale markets thanks to the international trade assistance provided by the Kutztown University SBDC and ongoing business consulting by the Lock Haven University SBDC.