A red-hot prospect | nnbw.com

A red-hot prospect

Rob Sabo

A Gardnerville company has taken on distribution of a fire-suppression pump that targets the homeowner market, and it’s looking to develop both manufacturing and investor capital in northern Nevada.

Gary Wittig, president and founder of the Simple Pump Company in Gardnerville, recently formed a partnership with a Southern California inventor to distribute the home-based fire suppression pump.

The Stay and Defend pump works on compressed air and can spray a half-inch of fire-suppressant foam over 250 square feet per minute at distances to 70 feet. The 500-pound pump, priced at $13,000, is mounted to a rugged-terrain four-wheel wagon for maneuverability.

Wittig says the 24-volt DC battery-powered pumps are designed for homeowners living in brushy or forested areas such as Incline Village, Verdi or Job’s Peak, and fire-prone areas such as Southern California counties that have experienced devastating wildfires in recent years.

“A homeowner in Malibu or Caughlin Ranch, or someone on a well or with no hydrants nearby, in event of a fire might want to have a piece of equipment that they can operate to protect their property,” Wittig says.

Simple Pump Company initially will act as a distributor for the pump, which was patented by Southern California inventor Eddie Paul. The inventor invested the funds to manufacture the first 40 Stay and Defend Pumps. Wittig will target 13 western states with his initial marketing push.

Simple Pump Company plans to outsource production of future pumps to Minden, Gardnerville and Carson City manufacturing companies such as Burns Machinery Inc., Comstock Rails and Beres Precision Inc. companies currently used by Simple Pump to manufacture its line of drinking-water hand pumps.

“We will let our sales dictate when we internalize manufacturing,” Wittig says. “We are not inclined to lease 5,000 square feet. We are more inclined to grow the business where we are not ahead of ourselves in terms of overhead.”

Wittig will assemble, test and distribute the Stay and Defend pumps from a 2,500-square-foot shop at his Gardnerville home. The challenge to marketability, he says, is educating the public about the benefits of the positive-placement pump system that uses a suppressant rather than centrifugal pumps that spray water, and justifying the high price point.

Wittig also seeks investors to develop the product. To that end he will be presenting the product to key equity investors in the next few weeks.

“We have verbal commitments from several investors and are looking for another,” he says. “It is local investor equity that will propel this venture.”