It gets down to business: Flagstaff woman develops new canister to keep paws off food on the way | Local

Grubcan actually received that seal of approval – the final step on a dizzying entrepreneurial journey that took Jaleski to 2018, taking a core of an idea born of backpack frustration and eventually turning it into a thriving business.

It’s quite a success story.

Jaleski once worked as an employee at the Flagstaff REI branch and after developing schematics and prototypes with Jim, an engineer, and studying marketing and manufacturing at the Flagstaff-based nonprofit Moonshot, she found herself in Seattle at . Again REI corporate offices are poised to get the huge outdoor retailer to wear the Grubcan.

Jaleski had entered a nationwide REI innovator competition and was selected as one of 355 finalists to meet with the company’s buyers. Did Jaleski mention in the video she was preparing for the competition that, by the way, she was a REI floorist?

“Oh, of course I used that,” said Jaleski. “That was actually the first thing I said. “I’m a REI employee in Flagstaff …” I was really nervous. They bring you into the room all by yourself and you wait for the buyer and her team to come in and meet you. I had a whole presentation ready. I had practiced it. “

What happened next was surprising, to say the least.

“So they came in and immediately said, ‘We want your bear canister.’ I thought, ‘Uh, I have a presentation. Do you want to hear it? Or do you watch the video (of the product tests)? ‘ They said, ‘Sure, let’s watch the bear video.’ It was great. You got it. In the end, we just talked about when I could finish it off. They understood that it really fulfills a much-needed niche. It’s so different from all the other bear canisters out there. “

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