Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

The company's outdoor tables keep your belongings clean and dry in the sand and sun.

Samantha St. Raymond and her father Pierre Saal have created a new meaning of the phrase “table for two.”

Samantha St. Raymond and her father, Pierre Saal, the creators of Yellow Dog Table.

They are the owners of the Pensacola, Fla. -based company Yellow Dog Table, which produces lightweight beach and travel tables designed to accommodate the storage needs of beachgoers with pockets full of essential personal items.

Father and daughter were enjoying one of Florida’s many beautiful beaches in February 2017 when St. Raymond realized that a beach blanket was not an ideal place to store personal belongings. Cellphones, watches, jewelry, sound systems, wallets and other personal items seemed to attract beach sand, no matter how well you tried to protect them. And refreshments, such as a bottle of beer or a glass of wine, often carried a clump of sand on the bottom of the glass after attempts to balance the beverages on lumpy sand.

“I noticed people that were bringing all the typical items like coolers, chairs, umbrellas, cell phones, Bluetooth speakers and refreshments to the beach,” St. Raymond said. “But the only thing that seemed to be missing was a small portable table. My father and I did some research, and discovered there was an opening in this market.”

St. Raymond and Saal, a retired United States Air Force Captain, have also found that Yellow Dog Tables are not limited to summertime beach use, because if you are using a beach chair during your outdoor adventure, the table’s height will continue to provide a level operating procedure.

“We changed the name from just a beach table to a beach and travel table, because it works with camping, boating, poolside, parties in the park, and river rafting because it is so small and compact that wherever you might want to take your chair – say you go to a music festival in the park – you would definitely take Yellow Dog Table with you and set it up,” St. Raymond said. “The little tote bag can fit over your chair. People use it for that and they love it.”

St. Raymond and Saal decided early on during their research to design a small polyethylene beach table that was just tall enough to comfortably reach from the standard beach chair -  which is typically closer to the ground -  without having to reach up to grab your drink. Placing your other items on a beach towel or wedging them in the sand involved the constant procedure of wiping sand off your suntan lotion-soaked body.

The Yellow Dog table is packaged in an attractive tote bag and weighs just two pounds. Yellow Dog’s patent-pending table legs are hollow so that they can be filled with sand for weighted stability if needed on a windy day at the beach.

St. Raymond and her father spent six months on research and development before launching the product at trade shows and on its own website in May. The pair worked the kinks out of their original design and have sold nearly 600 units in the three months the tables have been on the market.

The Yellow Dog Table is Made in America utilizing local Florida manufacturers. Diversified Fasteners of Pensacola manufactures the table tops and the 12-inch detachable PVC legs. Family-owned Medley Printing of nearby Fort Walton Beach provides inkjet images for the 12 x 12-inch table tops.

Yellow Dog has an inventory of six, different table top designs but will create a custom table-top design at a customer’s request.

“We can put anybody’s image on top of the table, with approval, obviously. So, it’s another great advertising promotional item or just a give-away for another revenue stream for another business with their logo on it,” St. Raymond said.

“It makes great swag at these big trade shows. It’s a unique item and nobody else has it so I think that stands us out a little bit because there is not one of these on the market. There is obviously small table camping tables, end tables, card tables, folding tables, but there is not a table that has the legs that remove, that fill with sand, that weighs two pounds and comes in tote bag that you can carry to any festival, beach, park or whatever. And the name-dropping kind of separates us as well.”

In less than four months in business, Yellow Dog has been able to secure a three-year licensing contract with the U.S. Navy, which will carry a signature table of The Blue Angels Brand that will be sold at Blue Angel air shows (which most often take place in the skies above beach areas).

Yellow Dog Tables has also attracted the interest from the Pensacola Wahoos baseball team. It has a one-year contract to sell the tables but only at the Wahoo’s baseball stadium. The St. Louis Cardinals have also expressed an interest in the product.

St. Raymond foresees the day when beach essentials may all be sold in one package featuring the classic beach chair, an umbrella and a Yellow Dog Table. The Yellow Dog Table itself sells for $20 with the exception being a specialty-designed top or the Blue Angel table which sells for $30 because part of the purchase price includes a donation to a Blue Angels fund.

Yellow Dog Tables is in its infancy, but is so far on a path to growth. Hopefully that will bring more manufacturing and jobs to the cities of the Florida panhandle as well.