Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

June 29, 2014

Jumping into business

TRAVERSE CITY – The whole Schaub family dove head first into entrepreneurship.

The Schaubs launched a new company, LilliPad, to manufacture and sell diving boards for pontoon boats. They’re abandoning careers and moving the family to Traverse City from Fort Wayne, Ind. to focus on the new company.

“This wasn’t part of our life plan,” Ann Schaub said. “It’s allowing us to get back to northern Michigan and be with our families.”

Ann Schaub’s need to entertain vacationing teenagers sparked the idea two years ago. Corey Schaub built the first prototype with scrap wood and a basketball. Austin Schaub, 14, helped design the family invention and Avery Schaub, 16, tested it at every stage. Two-year-old Lillian Schaub inspired the business’s name, and the business inspired some of her first words: diving board.

LilliPad Diving Boards can be temporarily mounted on the side of pontoon boats, which Corey Schaub said is only possible because the boards are spring-loaded to counteract divers’ weight. The board sits about five feet above the water.

The family plans to demonstrate the device at lakes in Michigan and Indiana this summer so boaters can try out the product. The calendar of demonstrations will be posted on the LilliPad website, lillipaddivingboards.com.

“We’re excited to get out and do demos and let people experience it because it truly is one of those products somebody needs to be able to experience and see because it is such a new concept to appreciate,” Ann Schaub said.

LilliPad is already ahead of the Schaubs’ expectation. Ann Schaub said they planned on doing a “soft launch” of the product and market it to dealers next year, but dealers approached them at the Fort Wayne Boat Show and Sale in February.

Now the boards are sold at Long Lake Marina in Interlochen, Grand Bay Marine in Traverse City and Dewitt Marine in Bellaire.

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