Allegan News Online
Local company aims to help athletes By Jason WesseldykSports Editor
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 1:14 PM EST
Paul VanderHoff (left) and Dave Jones are marketing products to help athletes in such sports as golf and basketball. (Photo provided)
OTSEGO—Athletes are always looking for a competitive advantage, some edge that will give them the upper hand.two Allegan County residents are trying to provide just such an advantage.Paul VanderHoff of Otsego and Dave Jones of Plainwell are among the driving forces behind Athletic Performance Tools, a company whose products include Sneaker Grip and Performance Grip.Sneaker Grip is a spray that is applied to the bottom of athletic shoes to reduce slipping by softening the soles of the shoes for sports such as basketball and volleyball. Performance Grip, meanwhile, is applied to the handles of golf clubs to provide a better grip.“These products give shoes and golf clubs that brand new, just out-of-the box feel,” said VanderHoff, who serves as CEO of Athletic Performance Tools.Jones, a vice president of sales and marketing, echoed those sentiments.
“it allows the shoes and clubs to work the way manufacturers intended them to work,” he said.The pair will be demonstrating Performance Grip at the West Michigan Golf show at DeVos place in Grand Rapids this Friday, Feb. 10, through Sunday, Feb. 12.“The West Michigan Golf show is a great opportunity for us,” VanderHoff said. “It’s a first-class event that thousands of golfers attend. hopefully we’ll be able to get some of those people to take a look at our product and start spreading the word about it.”Similar products are currently on the market. however, VanderHoff and Jones say their products have a big advantage over the competitors.“Our products provide grip without the stick,” VanderHoff said.In other words, the sprays won’t leave a sticky film behind that will attract dirt and actually impede performance.
“These products actually soften rubber, be it on the soles of shoes or the grip of the golf club,” Jones said. “it basically rejuvenates the shoes or club, which saves money. instead of going out and buying a new pair of shoes or having the grips redone on your clubs, you can just use some of our product.”Jones and VanderHoff know first hand how important having good traction is in basketball. they have more than a quarter century of combined coaching experience at the high school level and have worked with ACB Bank Hoops, a travel basketball program, the past seven years.Jones also coached high school golf for 19 years.“We’re both sports guys,” Jones said. “Sports are our passion. and that passion has led us to start this company.”several high schools and colleges are currently using Sneaker Grip, including Madonna University and Goshen College.mark Marlowe, owner of Courthouse Athletic Center in Byron Center, is also on board with the product. Not only does he carry Sneaker Grip at his facility, but he also took to you Tube for a testimonial video clip.“In novice terms, it just works,” Marlowe said of Sneaker Grip in the clip. “So we decided that’s worthwhile and we’ve been carrying it for the last three years and have had great success with it.”Expansion is the long-range goal for Athletic Performance tools.
“We have some other products in the works,” Jones said. “Sneaker Grip and Performance Grip will always be our flagship products, but we want to build off that.”and that expansion will help create jobs.“We’re a West Michigan company that makes the product right here in West Michigan,” VanderHoff said. “We’d like to be able to expand and provide jobs for this area and help the local economy in that way.”