Meet the North Bay couple who are about to make your grocery trip much easier
Harm and Johan Huisman have patented a device to maneuver grocery bins up stairs, 3 at a time
A North Bay couple is hoping their invention can help people lug their groceries a bit easier.
Harm and Johan Huisman have patented 'the Lofty Lift,' a wheeled device that can clip three grocery bins to its frame to easily maneuver and handle stairs. It weighs about ten pounds, and can collapse to fit into most cars.
Harm, who is going through his second round of chemotherapy, said the idea came to them almost three years ago, as he and Johan, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, contemplated moving from a lakeside home in Quebec to be closer to health services in Ontario.
"Johan said to me, if we're going to rent an apartment building, we're going to be on the eighth floor. I love using the bins, but how are we going to use them?" Harman said.
"We said, why can't we develop a dolly to carry the bins up for us?"
Finding the right manufacturer not easy
Harm sought out welders and designers to bring his idea into form.
"In North Bay we have a friend in the welding business," he said. "We approached him, but he wasn't geared up for it. We like to stay at a certain price, and he couldn't meet it."
"To be honest, it wasn't easy, it took a lot of searching out the right people with the right price, people who cared about it," Harm said. "In the development stage, you need people with a lot patience. We found them in Waterloo."
Johan said the prospects of living with Parkinson's also motivated them to create the device.
"[Parkinson's] is a progressive disease, and no treatment, no cure," she said. "It hinders movement as you go on. It'll get to the stage where it will be awkward to do any physical activity."
Harm added that a main reason to patent their device — it is currently waiting patent approval in the U.S — was motivated by the long term prospects of both of their diseases.
"Johan did some research on the internet to see what the outcome [of Parkinson's] would be, and after the research, she said, the time is gonna come when you're' gonna have to put me in a home, you won't be able to take care of me," Harm said.
"But I couldn't handle it. One of the reasons I want this to be successful...it might be selfish, but [I hope] she can stay home and I can afford to pay for a nurse."
"And they don't come cheap."