SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (WKBN) – The Slippery Rock company TracFab is trying to change lives with a worldwide product that started as a side hobby.
TracFab makes wheelchairs that allow their users to travel on any sort of land. The company’s goal is for the user to not be limited by the outdoors.
“Unfortunately, we hear stories of, ‘Well, I went to the beach with my family. I had to stop at the boardwalk and they continued to the sand and the surf,'” said David Kennedy, TracFab creator. “If you have one of our products, you don’t have to worry about that.”
The chairs use snow dirt bike tracks, seat belts, and a sturdy frame.
Building them started as a weekend project for Kennedy in 2012.
“One of them happened to be a wheelchair to help our grandma. She would get stuck in the grass as it got wet,” he said.
When Kennedy’s grandmother started using the wheelchair less and less, she suggested giving it to someone who would use it more.
After selling that first model online, TracFab’s creation took off.
“The cool thing about when we sold that one, we got, like, five or six emails and requests,” Kennedy said
He estimates they’ve sold over 2,000 and now, TracFab has a dealership as far away as New Zealand.
TracFab says it’s the first company to make the gas- and battery-powered, all-terrain wheelchairs. Kennedy said they “stay on the cutting edge.”
“Luckily for us, we got into it pretty early so we’re — in my opinion — one of the innovators. We came out with a 30-inch model that goes through doorways and into vans.”
When the company first started, it took about a month to make a chair. Now, TracFab’s most basic model can be completed in four hours.
The chairs can also be customized — whatever you’d like, you can ask for.
“We never turn anyone down. We always say if they need something to hold their ventilators, or oxygen bottles, or anything to get outdoors and enjoy themselves, we’re going to tell them ‘yes’ and figure out how to do it,” Kennedy said.
Soon, TracFab will release a product that mimics a four-wheeler.