On a summer morning three years ago, Carol "Stash" Stanley laced up her shoes and took off for a run, like she did on many mornings.
"I was running on Rio, and I stepped and tripped over my long laces, and I face-planted."
Before her cuts and bruises were even healed, Stanley started working to solve the problem of long or loose laces.
"I started playing with paper, and little mechanical things and Velcro."
She called her business partner and co-developer Kevin Cashel, who had also been thinking of a way to help corral his son's laces during cross country. Through trial and error, the two eventually developed the LaceLocker, which aims to hold in the laces so that they won't come untied.
The LaceLocker isn't Stanley's first invention. She is one of the developers of the STAN-MILL mitt, a glove worn under the mitt of baseball or softball players for protection. The mitt is in the permanent collection in Cooperstown, N.Y. at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
With the Lacelocker, Stanley and Cashel have given out prototypes and gotten feedback through the Ragged Mountain Running Shop in Charlottesville.
"When she first brought the idea to us, I thought, this makes sense. This has a legitimate need," said Mark Lorenzoni, who co-owns the Ragged Mountain Running Shop. "There is a purpose to this that people can utilize pretty quickly."
Lorenzoni has seen the product evolve over time. "I had a pair of the original ones, and they were a lot bulkier, pretty cumbersome, a little more difficult to use. She's just streamlined them to the point where it's, you don't even notice them."
The LaceLocker is manufactured in New York and sold in Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, and even Michigan.
Moving forward, Stanley has a few goals for her product. She wants to expand the business worldwide and eventually use the profits to create a scholarship fund.
"I want to use LaceLocker proceeds to help send kids to college," says Stanley, who is the registrar at the University of Virginia. "I had to struggle to pay my way through school, and I've been in education my whole life as an administrator, as a coach.
"We Just want to walk up to the door one day of our first scholarship recipient, who will be somebody that can't afford to be going to college, and say, 'don't worry about maybe not being able to go to college, we want to give you a LaceLocker scholarship."
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