It is hard to believe that 2009 is almost over…guess that happens when you are as busy as Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC has been this year.
The recession made month to month issues a challenge, but overall JRB sale grew over 80 percent in 2008 and 2009. It was a good time to support warm, comfortable nights out on outdoor “staycations”.
Our first goals for 2009, to make all our standard quilts fully reversible and convert the entire line of quilts to a new color (a muted olive), were accomplished early in the year.
New products and improvements to traditional stalwarts led the efforts at JRB for 2009. Five new quilts, a quilt liner, a better, lower cost, multi-purpose Weather Shield, improved spreader bars for the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and a capacity increase to 275 pounds as well as five more accessories were added this year.
First, the immensely popular Mt Washington 4 design was incorporated into a full line of under quilts. These new hammock under quilts all have the dual differential design, body contoured radial baffles and minimal to no adjustment “snug fit” attachment design. New quilts include the three seasons, 20 degree rated Mt Washington 3 under quilt and the Mt Washington 3 Convertible consisting of the Mt Washington 3 Short (a 2/3rds length Mt Washington 3) and the 1/3rd length “Compliment” which attaches to the Mt Washington 3 Short to form a full size Mt Washington 3. The Mt Washington 3 Convertible enables the light and fast set to have either a 14 ounce fractional under quilt or revert to a full size under quilt when conditions suggested a full length under quilt may be more desirable.
In October we addressed the long standing request of the ground community for a No Sniveller with better wrap capability and a tapered foot-box. The Sierra Sniveller is 52 inches wide from the top to the hips and tappers to 42 inches in the foot box. It has the same great wearable design and JRB omni-tape and draw cord foot-box. A long model was rushed into October production and early to meet the immediate customer demand.
A micro-fleece quilt liner, the first commercially available quilt liner, was introduced concurrent with the annual Early Bird Stocking Stuffer Sale. Super affordable at $29.95, this light weight cozy quilt liner easily adds 10 degrees to any JRB quilt. It may also serve as a stand-alone summer blanket, when night time temps are expected to be above 50-55 degrees.
The Weather Shield II, a work around solution when the waterproof yet highly breathable micro porous polypropylene became unavailable two years ago, was discontinued. Frogg Toggs began importing the Dri Ducks Poncho (DDP) which was immediately added to the JRB web site. Moreover, a kit was developed that when applied to the DDP would allow it to function as either a hammock under quilt Weather Shield or as a top quilt Weather Shield. Effectively a highly breathable quilt style bivi sack.
By late summer a source for stronger, subdued black, aluminum spreader bar material was secured. New anti torque, non-seizing, separable spreader bars with machine notched ends improved the Bear Mountain Bridge Hammock and enabled a capacity increase to 275 pounds.
Accessories received considerable emphasis and growth this summer as well. Two new tarps or shelters were added. A silnyl poncho shelter was added for the light and fast hammock or ground dwellers and an extremely taut pitching 10×10 Sculpted Tarp was added. The latter has perimeter tensioning gross grain reinforcement and adjustable webbing tie outs as well as a very slight sculpted ridge line. It serves both the hammock and ground dwelling communities.
Finally, accessories were rounded out with a travel pillow and a small waist pack that functions well as a medium size stuff sack. Figure 9s were stocked for those who would just as soon not tie knots.
Azimuth for 2010
We expect to focus on customer service and quality products as we enter our seventh year at JRB.
Current plans call for the introduction by mid-year of a winter model of the Sierra Sniveller which we will probably name the High Sierra Sniveller.
Product improvements are in store for the 11×10 Cat Tarp which significantly improve the front over hang when in the Baker/Lean to pitch and elongate the near enclosed “A” pitch to a 7 foot plus ground length.
We hope to continue our expansion, which began in 2008, into wholesaling. Watch for retail outlets as they are added to our existing retailers in Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, and Virginia. If you want your local retailer carrying Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC gear our best voice is your voice … Ask your retailer to contact us.
Jack and Jack
Jacks ‘R’ Better, LLC