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LowTides Ocean Products

MEMORIAL Day Weekend kicks off the summer for beach people. All of the stores are open for the season and the weather is getting warmer. It’s the perfect time to sit in your beach chair with a good book or your OC magazine while letting the ocean wash over your feet. It’s also the weekend that Brenton Hutchinson got the idea for his company, LowTides Ocean Products that uses ocean-bound plastic to create their high end beach chairs.

“I summer in Sea Isle. I grew up in Haddonfield. My grandfather started with a house on 80th Street in Sea Isle and I’m fortunate enough to have that background growing up. I was born on Memorial Day Weekend. I’ve spent a lot of time in Ocean City over the years,” said Brenton.

Though he spent summers at the shore, he didn’t come up with the idea for his company until 2018.

“It was Memorial Day Weekend 2018 and I picked up National Geographic. It was the edition with the now famous cover showing a plastic bag coming out of the ocean that looked like an iceberg. I ended up going through it that weekend. Saturday or Sunday I was sitting on the beach and brainstorming. [I thought] well, what if I made something for other beach lovers or ocean lovers. That we could take the plastic out of the environment and use it.”

He looked around the beach and spotted his product – beach chairs.

“Over drinks that weekend, I was pitching the idea to family and nobody really shot me down. That started the journey. That week I called one of those ‘bring your inventions to life’ engineering companies. That was it. I was off and running,” said Brenton.

“We had a successful Kickstarter campaign in June of 2019. I was not going to go that route but the more I looked into it, the more I was able to ensure that there was interest in the product. At the end of the day, those who donated got the product. We have a successful full funded campaign and raised $30,000. It took us a full year to get our first season out to the public which was July of last summer,” Brenton said.

It was a big hit.

“We sold out of our child chairs and our low chairs within the first 60 days. We have season two with a totally new design that will launch the second week of June. In between all of that, we’ve tweaked, updated, changed, and cleaned up the design and found a new factory and new agent. It’s been quite the year,” said Brenton.

The plastic waste used to make the armrests and kickplates doesn’t come from local beach cleanups but rather from countries who can’t properly dispose of their plastic.

“Any plastic that is found in the ocean is actually non reusable because the ocean has started breaking it down. Once it enters the ocean, you can’t use it,” said Brenton.

LowTides Ocean Products partners with a company, Vision Plastics, who sources waste from areas that don’t have the ability to dispose of litter themselves.

“(Vision Plastics) partners with companies in really third world areas who don’t have waste infrastructure to collect their plastic and recycle them,” Brenton said.

Examples of these places are Haiti and the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

“(Vision) works with landfills and resorts. These are in coastal areas that when flooding happens, (trash) ends up in your rivers and streams. The big part of pollution comes from rivers and streams,” Brenton said.

According to the LowTides website, “ocean bound” means the plastic was collected through local efforts within 50 kilometers of a coastline.

“What sets us apart is not just the environmental piece of it but our designs. If you look at our beach chairs, it’s not the same look. We also offer different features like cup holders that can fit a Hydro Flask or Yeti. You can’t fit them into a single cup holder that I’ve seen.”

The lifespan of the chairs is the same as other chairs currently on the market, according to Brenton.

“The weight is six to seven pounds similar to other chairs,” said Brenton.

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They offer Dune Tall Chairs, Sand Bar Low Beach Chairs, and Gully Child Beach Chairs.

“The kids sometimes need a chair to sit down and eat lunch,” Brenton said.

These cute chairs come in patterns such as Shark Bite, Dolphin Crest, Whale Wave, Flamingo Beach, Sea Turtle Fuchsia, and Seahorse Turquoise.

LowTides Ocean Products beach chairs also come with backpack straps.

If you’re looking to buy a beach chair this summer, Island Beach Gear, 2 W. 9th Street, Ocean City carries LowTides.

“They’ve been a great sounding board,” said Brenton. “They have been one of our earliest supporters. They’re going to be carrying chairs in their store and online this summer.”

You can also order beach chairs for the whole family directly from the LowTides Ocean Products

Photos courtesy of LowTides.

This story and more can be found in our June magazine.

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