SBA Names Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015

Release Date: 
Friday, April 17, 2015
Release Number: 
Patrick Saxton (612) 370-2325

BACKUS, MN – Travis Kelley, Owner of JenTra Tools and inventor of the CHEATAH Door Level Kit, based in Backus, MN, has been named the Minnesota SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year is selected annually based on success as measured by sales and profits, increased employment opportunities created by the business, development and/or utilization of innovative or creative business methods, and demonstrated entrepreneurial potential necessary for long-term business success and economic growth.  If this wasn’t enough, all of these accomplishments are done before the Young Entrepreneur reaches the age of thirty (30).  Sarah Dregney, Owner and Marketing Communications Consultant for J&J Solutions of Staples, MN, and Business Consultant at the North Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center (NC MNSBDC) at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, MN, nominated Kelley for this award.

Travis started his career at Scherer Bros Lumber Company in Hopkins, MN, working in retail sales. After two years, Travis returned to North-Central Minnesota and continued working in sales and installation of residential and commercial doors for J.B. O’Meara Company. Travis is currently employed by Marvin Windows and Doors and is one of the top regional salespeople for the company.  

JenTra Tools was started by Travis and Jennifer Kelley in 2011 with the launch of their invention, the CHEATAH door level.

The inspiration for the CHEATAH door level came from experience with door sales and installation. When Kelley noticed that doors often warped after installation, he and his wife decided to figure out a solution, since improper installation of doors is the leading cause of warranty claims to door manufacturers and distributors. The first CHEATAH prototype was crafted using tin, cardboard and a level from Menards. Today, JenTra Tools sells the CHEATAH door level kit to contractors and Do It Yourselfers through their website and through dealers in the U.S.

The CHEATAH door level consists of three individual levels and spacers. The levels mount to one side and the top of the door while the spacers create a perfect reveal between the door and the jamb. The installer instantly knows when the door is positioned level and plumb by simply monitoring the levels. When positioned, traditional shimming and securing of the jamb assures perfect installation and function. Door kits are made using DuPont’s ZYTEL nylon resin for strength and durability.

Using the door level, doors can be installed in one-third the time and with more precision than the traditional method—resulting in better door operation, fewer callbacks and fewer returns. Everyone benefits: the building owner, the contractor, the wholesaler, the retailer and the manufacturer.

JenTra has been featured on the DIY Network, and reviewed positively in several leading trade publications, such as ProSales Magazine, Builder Magazine and the LBM Journal as well as other publications. It was named one of the top new products and the International building Show in Las Vegas in 2012. Most recently, Kelley participated in the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business MN Cup competition and was named runner-up in the general division.

In November, JenTra expanded its product line with a version of CHEATAH level specifically for door manufacturers and distributors. This December, the design of a high-end CHEATAH was completed and will be marketed to professional contractors and door trimmers.

Kelley lives in his hometown of Backus, MN with his wife and his two children.

Kelley will be honored at the Minnesota Small Business Week Awards program on May 7, 2015, at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest.

For more information:

Travis Kelley
JenTra Tools
794 32nd Ave NW
Backus, MN 56435