‘The world is getting much smaller;’ Export help for local businesses


by WHAS11


Posted on December 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 17 at 1:09 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Lawler family's basement in Louisville's Highlands neighborhood is about as far as you can get from major ski resorts, yet it's where the family fulfills orders for its unique snow boot protectors from skiers across the world.

"It creates that comfort walk to where you're walking like with a shoe on," explained Reid Lawler, the Operations Manager for Ski Skootys.

Just four years ago, Ski Skooty's were still on the drawing board. 

"We're getting bigger than we ever thought this would ever be," Lawler said.

They're now used by recreational and Olympic skiers in twenty states and eight countries.  The entire U.S. Women's Olympic Ski Team is using them at the Winter Games in Russia next month.  A Russian business recently ordered 1000 pairs.

The Kentucky owners have had to learn how to jump through international hoops.

"Some of these things I didn't even know was there," Sally Lawler said.  "Or how do I do that? Or what don't you do? And that's been key for us."

With the help of $200,000 from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, a new export promotion program from Louisville and Lexington’s BEAM partnership is encouraging local companies to expand their territory.

"Obviously the world is getting much smaller," Mayor Greg Fischer (D) Louisville said.  "So if you've got an international competitor and you're not in the game against them, you're probably not going to survive five or ten years from now.

Small businesses can apply for grants up to $4,500 each.

"We've got about 37 awards that we'll be able to make," Haley Stevens of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement said.  "And what we don't know though is how many markets these companies will be able to expand to. But we expect to see several hundred markets."

"It's the American dream, almost," Sally Lawler said.  "Once we start going out of our house, doing more sales, it will be the American dream then."

For more information on the BEAM export program, click here.

For a link to Ski Skootky's, click here.