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In a world of sink or swim, ASU student's business skips

Jaron Lodge makes waves with his new skipping stone product


Professional stone skipper Keisuke Hashimito, ASU business sophomore Jaron Lodge, and world record holder for most skips in a throw Kurt Steiner, pose for a photo in Franklin, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. 

For some, skipping stones is a relaxing pastime. For others, it’s a competitive activity. For Jaron Lodge, an ASU sophomore majoring in business and entrepreneurship, it’s a business. 

As the founder of Stonnes, Lodge created a website and social media accounts on various platforms to support and promote his version of the traditional skipping stone. Additionally, because fish food is a key ingredient, Lodge’s Stonnes are completely biodegradable. 

He said that the product offers a unique way to participate in skipping stones and also save time at events such as tournaments, where participants often spend hours looking for useable stones to skip. 

Lodge has attended multiple tournaments and even flew out to Pennsylvania for a championship where he provided his Stonnes to competitors. Lodge said he saw a gap in the market, and aimed to supply people with the right materials in order to improve their skills.  

“You can find all the rocks you want but the chances of them actually skipping are usually not very high,” Lodge said.  

In an effort to research the game and further develop his product, Lodge went to multiple stone skipping tournaments and gained insight from Kurt Steiner, the world record holder for most skips. 

Ryanne Mueller, a junior majoring in parks and recreation and president of the Parks and Recreation Student Association, believes that an invention like this could positively impact many  people. 

“With parks and rec, the whole recreation idea is to get people outside. Something like this, which makes something so enjoyable easier for people, is pretty innovative to say the least,” Mueller said.  

For Lodge, the desire to start a business has existed since he was seven. He worked his way through Boy Scouts to become an Eagle Scout by 15, breaking records for popcorn sales along the way.

In addition to this endeavor, Lodge has experience with other business and sales centric jobs, and despite always being one of the youngest people in the room during business discussions, Lodge refused to let his age get in the way of entrepreneurial efforts. 

“In all of my business and sales jobs, I’m always pitching against older people with bigger teams while I’m doing everything on my own," Lodge said. "When it comes down to it though, this is what I’ve always wanted to do."

Before he started making Stonnes, Lodge said that he often used his car as a “university on wheels” and took advantage of his driving time to learn as much about business as he could. 

For Lodge, one of his goals as a business owner is to help grow the economy and preserve the environment. 

Nathaniel Shrake, a junior majoring in therapeutic recreation, said that spending time on leisurely activities is extremely beneficial to people, and that Stonnes could encourage people to do just that. 

“There is a market for these kinds of things. People are aware of the holistic benefits of recreation, and gone are the days where it’s TV and video games," he said. "People recognize now that it’s ok to say that ‘my hobbies are skipping stones,' and that’s cool.” 

Shrake also said that while the Stonnes were a fun idea, its sustainability is also a great selling point. 

“If we aren’t sustainable, we’re not going to be able to do anything for very long," Shrake said. "It’s important to preserve (lakes), and this is something that would help preserve and draw people to them at the same time."

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