Automatic shoe covers turn into a hit for Knoxville company

Automatic shoe covers turn into a hit for Knoxville company

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The Bootie Butler can attach shoe covers for you. The Bootie Butler can attach shoe covers for you.
The products were an extreme help at the Extreme Makeover build site. The products were an extreme help at the Extreme Makeover build site.
"Here in Knoxville, we actually assemble, develop and hold a patent on the removal system with the filtration system added onto it," CEO Rob Heller explained. "Here in Knoxville, we actually assemble, develop and hold a patent on the removal system with the filtration system added onto it," CEO Rob Heller explained.

By KRISTIN FARLEY
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - One Knoxville product was a huge hit at the Extreme Makeover build site, The Bootie Butler

Many say the automatic shoe covers are a big reason the home of Daniel and Mandy Watson remained clean, despite all the mud at the site.

The Bootie Butler is a device that can attach shoe covers for you, and you don't ever have to touch your feet to make it work.

While shoe covers are nothing new, the idea of a machine applying them for you has people talking.

CEO Rob Heller says without his product, workers would have had to put on the shoe covers on by hand each time they entered the home.

"The next thing, they would have had to wash their hands. There was no place to wash their hands," he explained.

Heller has a signed hard hat from one of the Extreme Makeover show designers giving the Bootie Butler his stamp of approval.

Heller says the idea for the product came from a trip to China more than seven years ago. "We saw a product over there that was a great idea. You stepped into a small box and it encapsulated your shoes, but the product did not work well. It was hard to load and did not hold many shoe covers."

Back in Knoxville, Heller and his partner began brainstorming and found ways to make improvements.

A wall in the business on Papermill Road displays all the Bootie Butler models, including a few electronic versions. Heller says those were phased out fairly quickly. "A lot of customers said this would be great if we did not need electricity everywhere we need to use it."

The most recent version doesn't need electricity and seems to be tweaked to perfection, thanks to some engineers at a top airline. Heller says they liked the product so much, they offered to help refine it.

But the application process is just half of the equation. In the past month, the company has released a bootie remover as well.

"Here in Knoxville, we actually assemble, develop and hold a patent on the removal system with the filtration system added onto it," Heller explained. Just like its counterpart, it keeps users from having to touch the booties or their shoes.

The removers are assembled by hand in Knoxville.

The applicators are designed in Knoxville and produced in China. The company hopes to move toward all production being done in Knoxville in the future.

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