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Wade Simon, right, and Nik Hiner have sold more than two million of their LockJawz electric fence t-post insulators. Photo Submitted

Locked in

January 30, 2019
A new business originating out of Georgetown has taken the farming market by storm in the last two years, evolving from a basement-run operation to a full-fledged fulfillment center.

LockJawz, created by Georgetown's Wade Simon and Harrison County's Nik Hiner, took the regular electric fence insulators and redesigned them after a "summer of frustration."

"Three years ago, I moved back up from Tennessee to Indiana to the family farm," Simon said. "It's been in my wife's family for 110 years, and it needed to be re-fenced. So, we started re-fencing the entire property. Nik Hiner's house neighbors our farm, and he came over and started helping. While we were working together, we started discussing the opportunities with the current electric fence insulators on the market and how we'd like to see them made a little differently."

"As anyone in this area knows, you can't drive a t-post in the ground hardly without hitting rock or root causing the t-post to twist," he continued. "When you go to pull the wire and the t-post is twisted, with a standard insulator, the wire will catch or bind. There are also those times when you wish the face of the t-post was on the other side when running electric fence wire. We also didn't like the way the wire would terminate at the gates."

Simon imagined an improved insulator specifically designed for use with all 1.25/1.33-pound standard t-posts with 360-degree mounting options and the ability to make tight 180-degree turns working as well in-line as it does as a corner insulator.

"I said, 'Hey, man, wouldn't it be neat if it was shaped like a hockey puck with a grove all the way around it,' " he said. "Nik came back two weeks later with the first 3-D print of what started LockJawz."

The duo spent the next two years continuing to develop the insulators. After 52 different iterations, they finally got to a place where they were satisfied with their prototype.

"Everybody else kept telling us that we ought to sell them," Simon said. "So, we took 12 of them down to the Farm and Machinery Show in Louisville in 2017 and handed them out to the farmers down there and asked for their feedback. Every one of them either asked if they could buy them on the spot or asked when we would start selling them. Nik and I looked at each other and said, 'Well, I guess we're going to make them.'

"We emptied out our savings, finalized all the things we wanted to do with it, built the mold with the guys from Future Mold in New Albany in February 2017 and started injection molding in May, and, on June 4, 2017, we started to sell our first insulators online," he continued.

Since then, the duo have sold more than two million insulators.

"It took us a year to sell our first million insulators and then another four months to sell our second million," Simon said. "We've got over 350 five-star reviews online and over 370 stores that carry our insulators in stores across the United States now. They're all regional, co-op, mom-and-pop carriers."

Those stores include Longbottom & Hardsaw in Central, Mister Hardware in Georgetown and Crawford County Tractor parts in Marengo.

"It's 100-percent local," Simon said. "We injection mold everything right here in New Albany, we ship everything out of Georgetown, our boxes and bags are made in Louisville. We could've done it for less by going overseas, but that wasn't what our mission was. We certainly appreciate all the support.

"Recently, we were able to participate in the Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival and also (were) invited to the Harrison County Fair," he continued. "The business has grown from the farm and basement to a fulfillment center in Georgetown. We just finished patents for t-post corner bracing that we have been testing and developing the past two years and look forward to bringing them to the market in 2019."

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