GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's a high tech device aimed to stop towel theft -- the Towel Tracker, which began right here in West Michigan, is now installed in hotels and resorts across the country.
This "Made In Michigan" company sells this equipment to hotels and fitness centers.
"A lot of our hotel customers will save over $10,000 a month by implementing this system," founder Steven Molewyk said.
Here's how it works:
"You've got your clean side and you've got your towels in there on racks and they'll use their room key, scan it and what that towel tracker did is it just checked to see if I was a valid guest or not," Molewyk said. "I'm able to take as many towels as I need and each towel has an RFID tag embedded into it right here.
"When I'm done, I simply walk over to the return side using the towels toss them in and it comes off of my room card. Basically like a library check out system, almost the same idea but for towels."
Molewyk got the idea several years ago.
"I did towels for a health club here in Grand Rapids and I talked with the manager of the facility and he said they were losing 900 towels a week, so I thought if it's that bad here, it's got to be bad elsewhere," Molewyk said.
And after his first try, the technology was patented.
"We own the market for health clubs, hotels and now we're looking at hospitals," Molewyk said. "It's growing into something we had not dreams of."
The technology reduces theft by 90-95 percent.
"To this day, it just gives me goose bumps that we were able to break the code, many other companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we did it here in West Michigan," Molewyk said.
While the manufacturing is done in Grand Rapids, these trackers are spread across the nation.
"We've got a lot of customers in Florida, in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, we're in 15 different states around the country, and our customers are constantly giving us referrals almost on a daily basis now," Molewyk said.
For more information on the Towel Tracker, visit the company's website.
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