AriesGate is out to give a whole new meaning to the word tailgate – both in the physical and fun before a football game sense. Greg Solt founded the company that creates customizeable tailgates that add a unique spin to the typically stagnant piece of metal and up a truck’s functionality.
AriesGate builds drop-in replacements for tailgates. A solid steel or metal frame with three open spaces for inserts takes a tailgate from part of a truck that holds things in the bed to an almost limitless possibility of things. Solt says to consider their design the smartphone of tailgates. You have a standard smartphone that you can customize with any number of apps – same with the tailgate.
What to insert to customize a tailgate is really only limited by the customer’s imagination. AriesGate just needs the truck or the CAD specs for a tailgate to start building the framework.
One possibility is LED monitors. Solt sees three main purposes for the monitors – watching a football game at a tailgate, dynamic messaging for mobile advertising and programming emergency messages for roadside assistance or construction crews. Other possibilities include an integrated tool box, a platform for power tools, outdoor lighting for camping and a backup camera.If that weren’t enough options, AriesGate is also working on plans for grill and cooler inserts.
While AriesGate is preparing to go to market with their designs, one more unique tailgate concept is ready for its reveal. In partnership with the Ohio Tap Room, Todd Perkins Design and the Columbus Idea Foundry, Aries Gate has created a mobile taproom. The mobile taproom will be rolling up to events this summer pouring Ohio-only craft brews.
Launching AriesGate has been a project many years in the making for Solt. While working at Home Depot in the 90s, he saw the way people loaded their pickups and thought, “Was there a better way to load a pickup and a better way to transport those kinds of building materials?” He made a sketch then shelved it until 2009. After floating the idea to others and receiving positive feedback, he decided to take his idea from sketch to business.
Solt turned to the Columbus community for help.
“I really found some great resources,” he says. Solt started working with the SBDC who was able to connect him with several metal fabricators around town who helped refine the concept.
“During the whole process I started to think about, ‘Is there a shop around or a place around where I can take this physical design and test it out somewhere?’,” he says.
That’s when he discovered makerspaces and The Columbus Idea Foundry. With the space he was able to build prototypes and through the collaborative environment, develop answers for important business questions like how the tailgates could be manufactured on a large scale.
“The more that I got involved with the Columbus Idea Foundry, the more I got into developing my project,” Solt says.
Solt says that if you make an effort to get out there and talk to people there are several outlets to network and meet other small businesses.
“I found specifically in Columbus that there a lot of great resources for entrepreneurs,” he says.
Long-term, Solt hopes that AriesGate will help bring manufacturing back to Central Ohio, vowing to keep everything American-made.
For more information, visit ariesgate.com.