ICONIC FAMILY TOY MAKERS BRING BACK FUNOMENAL FUN TO SAVE KIDS FROM SCREEN ADDICTION
A Texas grandfather has founded a new toy company and parents have gained a new ally in their fight against digital distractions and screen addiction.
That's a tall order but he's standing on some tall shoulders. Chuck Knerr's company, Spud 'N Rich, is named for the founders of Wham-O. Spud Melin and his Dad, Rich Knerr gave millions of children Hula Hoops, Frisbees, Slip 'N Slide and dozens more. Now Spud 'N Rich introduces Whirly-Go-Round, an "indoor thrill-ride" that's fun enough to tear kids away from their iPads. Whirly-Go-Round is based on an idea Chuck tested for Spud and Rich when he was 6. According to Chuck, it was a crude contraption but wildly fun, "I could spin as long and fast as I wanted! A few years back I told my Dad it was the 'funnest' toy they never made. He said material and design problems prevented them from manufacturing that contraption.
Then, in 2019 Chuck noticed the impact digital distractions had on his grandkids, He decided it was time to act on his Dad's challenge to solve those design problems to give today's kids the 'funomenal' fun he'd enjoyed. By 2020 he has solved all the problems with a new design and material, bamboo.
While Wham-O's products were made of plastic, a modern material in the 1950s, Chuck saw his kids' homes were drowning in plastic toys, "I wanted to create a toy that wouldn't end up in a landfill and that Mom's wouldn't have to "pick up" before company comes. I love the idea of an heirloom toy-- something that's so fun kids form an emotional memory of it, like I did, that inspires them to want to share it with their own children one day. And they can, because it's built to last, the fun is sustainable."
According to Chuck, Spud and Rich were larger than life characters who found fun in every facet of life. He shared, "I grew up testing every toy they made and spent more time with Spud and Dad than with my own friends." "They were independent and self-reliant so they made a pact to quit working for their fathers and go into business earning $2 a day making slingshots ." Their aversion to working for their dads resulted in dozens of iconic American toys. They sold the company in 1982.
So why start up Spud 'N Rich after all this time? Why didn't Chuck carry on with Wham-O? "Before Dad passed, a friend of mine innocently asked him, "why did you sell? Why didn't Chuck take over?" Rich said, "Well, Chuck never wanted to." Chuck responded, "Well you never asked." And that was the first time the subject had come up between them. Chuck laments, "I guess I inherited the working-for-your-dad aversion."
Whirly-Go-Round will be available online in June and is described as an "Indoor Thrill-Ride."