WEST OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City resident is turning his ideas for a high-performance outdoor bucket into a successful, homegrown business.
Joe Schneider, the founder of Huck Performance Buckets, began his quest to reinvent the a typical five-gallon bucket more than three years ago.
Since that time, he has developed his own high-performance product that is now being assembled from his own facility in West Ocean City.
Schneider said the story of Huck Performance Buckets started with a fishing trip in the Florida Keys.
“I was walking down the dock to go fishing with a bucket full of bait and the handle broke,” he said. “I lost my bucket and all of the bait went overboard. I was thinking there wasn’t even a middle-of-the-road option when it comes to five-gallon buckets.”
Schneider said he spent the ensuing months designing a durable product that would stand the test of time. From there, he began the process of trademarking his high-performance buckets and securing design and utility patents before moving on to research and development.
Helping Schneider in his endeavors was a $25,000 reward from Salisbury University’s Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery entrepreneurship competition, which he won in the fall of 2017.
“A guy had reached out to me and asked if I had ever heard about the Shore Hatchery competition, which is an entrepreneurial competition – similar to the show ‘Shark Tank’ – at Salisbury University,” he said. “If you win, you can get up to $25,000 free money to pursue your invention. I entered it and won.”
Schneider said the money was spent on molds, development and new product.
“There’s never been a performance five-gallon bucket company in the world, so it’s not like I had a roadmap,” he said. “I had to figure all of this out myself. That was time consuming and expensive.”
Schneider said he eventually ended his career in commercial real estate to develop and market his invention, which was developed using SpryTech material he created, and parts produced by American manufacturers.
“I couldn’t come to the market with a product that was moderately better than the best bucket out there,” he said. “It had to be exponentially better.”
Schneider said the buckets are assembled at his 1,400-square-foot facility in West Ocean City. From there, they are shipped to online customers or retail stores.
“We are doing all of the buckets for Viking Yachts, Airstream and we are also working with Jeep,” he said. “We are already in 34 stores in 10 different states and Costa Rica … The response we’ve gotten has been tremendous.”
Schneider said Huck has also partnered with tournament organizers to be a sponsor for this year’s White Marlin Open.
“Every single boat in the White Marlin Open is going to have a Huck Performance Bucket on it,” he said.
While his buckets come with a higher price tag, Schneider said his product is environmentally friendly and durable, and parts are replaceable. He said he wants to do for the bucket industry what Yeti did for the cooler industry.
“At every single turn, where we could have opted for cheaper or quicker, we opted for quality …,” he said.
Schneider encouraged anyone to visit www.thehuckbucket.com, or any of the company’s social media accounts, to learn more.
“This is a product from right here in Ocean City,” he said. “It has a lot to do with the community and it’s different than anything that’s been done before.”