Dec 14th 2021
College student and all-round innovator Blake Chance spotted a gap in the agricultural market that would provide peace of mind for farmers and reduce the risk of baler burnups.
Developing the Quick-Pin after experiencing issues himself, Blake has since masterminded more products designed to make life on the farm even easier. Between keeping busy with Northeast Kansas Supply Co., life on the farm and attending college, we managed to catch up with Blake to talk business.
Solving a common farming problem
Blake tells us that he created the Quick-Pin to try and solve a problem. After experiencing an episode that he describes as a “close call” when his baler began to burn up, and reading online that many other farmers struggled with this too (many losing their tractors in the process), he began to think about better, faster ways of unhooking balers.
So Blake came up with what can only be described as an ingenious invention: the Quick-Pin. It features a top sleeve and a snap pin holding it in, so that once the snap pin is pulled, you can release the pressure with the tractor and the main shaft can fall down through the hitch and the tractor can be pulled away. A versatile piece of engineering, it also works on other types of equipment.
When talking about his inspiration behind the Quick-Pin, Blake tells us that, “my baler almost burnt up one night and I didn’t want to lose my tractor as well. The Quick-Pin just makes for faster and easier unhooking of balers especially, but many other implements as well.”
The brains behind the business
In terms of how long it took to really get the design right, Blake reveals that his third design is what is now being made today. He says: “It took trial and error, but eventually it came to be what it is. I thought the whole idea was a bust when nobody was interested in making them, so for six months I didn’t really work on it, but then one day, one of my friends mentioned a guy. That’s all it takes, is that one person to change everything. That guy wanted to help me out and I have been making the Quick-Pin with his company ever since.”
Blake has since expanded to more agricultural products other than the Quick-Pin, and is spreading the word of his helpful inventions and fine-tuned tools to the farming community. His business, Northeast Kansas Supply Co., now carries Whalen Truck Scales, Outback Wrap, T&T Cleaner, and 3D Printed cup holders for older tractors.
Capturing his niche perfectly, Blake revealed that he tries to find products most other companies aren’t carrying, so he can stand out from the competition.
As far as the origins of his entrepreneurial spirit are concerned, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Blake’s father ran both a construction and cattle business throughout Blake’s childhood, giving him a first-hand insight into how businesses are run and operated.
Crediting his parents as his most valuable teachers, Blake says, “The biggest thing they’ve taught me is that you’re going to fail. But you have to change up your game plan and make sure that you don’t do that again or else you probably won’t be in business long. My parents have taught me everything I know and I’m very lucky to have them to help me and guide me in my journey.”
So far, Blake has found that the biggest difficulty in running a successful product line is building lasting relationships with equipment dealers, which is why he appreciates the local, community feel of fellow Kansas company, KEY Apparel.
KEY workwear: A community spirit
Blake also credits some of his success to the support that he has received from us here at KEY, saying, “being a Kansas company, it’s really cool to be able to work with a company who carries a mindset a lot like mine, trying to keep things local. KEY trying to help out a local Kansas guy like me has been great in getting my product out there!”
When talking about his favorite KEY item, Blake says that the bib overalls are the comfiest workwear choice he has ever made, even wearing them off the farm on college campus and at KSU football games. A generational choice, he goes on to add that his grandpa, “wore the heck out of them,” and so they also remind Blake of him.