Company to the Rescue When a Campfire is Needed
With a fine turn of the weather, many will be pumped to retrieve the hiking boots and sleeping bag from the back of the closet and get into some camping and communing with nature.
“There are four things you need—food, water and shelter, and fire is perhaps one of the most essential pieces. It gives you comfort at night, it keeps you warm and you can cook over it,” says Pamela Francis who handles sales and marketing for Live Fire Gear, a local company made up of her husband, Adam Francis, and Roger and Dayna Sandrich.
Started several years ago, Live Fire Gear produces lightweight, waterproof tins containing a fire starter, as well as 550 FireCord, an item that Pamela Francis calls “duct tape for the outdoor world.” You can use it for everything from tying down a tent to fashioning it into a fishing line. The company’s version also contains strands that can be taken out and used as a fire starter—again, the material is water resistant so there’s no need to go without a fire if your lighter gets smashed or you drop your matches into a stream.
This local small business is attracting worldwide attention with sales in Greece and other parts of Europe, Korea and Canada to campers, hikers, hunters and survivalists. The company, with manufacturing operations in southern Pennsylvania and headquarters in Frederick, went from initial sales of less than $2,000 a year to $300,000 last year, Frances says, adding that “we’re trying like heck to get military contracts, people like the Navy Seals.”
More than a year ago, Live Fire Gear decided to use KickStarter, an Internetbased crowdfunding appeal to gather investors, as a way to finance the launch of 550 FireCord. The company’s goal of $7,500 was vastly surpassed by the more than $41,000 raised. Its products have also been demonstrated at gun shows and Frances says she would like to attend more outdoor shows.
“I love meeting people, I love doing demonstrations,” Francis says. “We hardly have anyone not buying” once they see what the products can do. Francis says she also enjoys the freedom of owning and running a business. “All four of us are pretty driven; there’s no 9- to-5 for us. We’re sending emails late at night.” www.livefiregearllc.com