It took one bad day of hunting to inspire then 16-year old Doreen Garrett to become an entrepreneur. While pursuing a deer in a swamp, Doreen hooked her boot on a submerged root. She and her firearm ended up deep in the mud. She tried to remove the mud that was lodged in the barrel of her rifle with a stick, but had no luck. The disappointment of missing the hunt inspired her to develop a small portable gun cleaning system.
The system, called “The Whole Kit and Caboodle”, contained everything needed for cleaning a rifle in the field. At 16, Doreen took her prototypes to industry trade shows selling them one kit at a time. Her family helped her keep up with orders by making cleaning systems at the kitchen table.
In 1985, Doreen incorporated and named the business, Otis Products, Inc. “If you have an idea, stick with it,” says Doreen. “My first patent attorney told me my idea was not patentable. I’m glad I didn’t listen to him.” Today, Doreen and Otis Products, Inc. have more than 24 trademarks and 10 patents.
Otis received four SBA-guaranteed loans from 1997 through 2001, totaling more than $6 million. Sales have increased dramatically since the company received its first SBA loan. In 1985, Otis had 9 employees; today the company employs 160 people. Doreen has taken her small business from the family home to a recently expanded to a 65,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in rural Lewis County, New York and a Research and Development Center located in Phoenix, New York.
Today, Otis Products, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of firearm maintenance systems. Otis products are sold to our Armed Forces, the FBI, DEA and other federal and law enforcement agencies. Large retailers such as L.L. Bean, Gander Mountain, and Cabela’s also sell Otis products.