Made in America: Truck Rack Still Afloat Despite 'Shark Tank' Rejection

Donny McCall says he still will not budge on keeping production in the U.S.

ByABC News
May 3, 2012, 8:46 AM

May 3, 2012 — -- Donny McCall, the inventor of the Invis-a-Rack, a retractable cargo rack designed for pickup trucks, appears to be healing nicely after his much-talked-about dip in the popular reality show "Shark Tank."

"We've got product. We've sold product. We're ready to go," he said. "We just need money to create more product to be able to actually sell it. ... If a half-a-million dollars came in, we could be up and running and moving product and making money by year's end."

During a January episode, McCall appeared before the show's entrepreneurs requesting $100,000 for a 10 percent stake in his company and help making his product. The entrepreneurs turned down his proposal after he refused to consider their suggestions that he make his rack overseas.

"Let's just say that a manufacturer in Asia could make that for $150 [from $250] in quantities of, let's say, 1,000," said entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary during the show. "That puts you in business right there, my friend. ... And yet you're saying 'No.'"

"It's not what I'm going to do with my company," McCall told the "sharks."

After the show aired, hundreds chimed in on social media sites and blogs, urging McCall to not lose hope in his company and his goal to make his rack stateside.

"The best thing that any American can do if they really support Don and Don's dream is to become a customer ... or help him to find one. I don't own a truck myself ... but I know if I did, I would definitely be placing an order for his Invis-a-Rack," commenter Douglas posted on a blog.

'Shark Tank' Inventor: 'It's Not Just About Profit'

The Sparta, N.C., inventor told ABC News recently that he had not given up on his dream of making and selling his Invis-a-Rack in the United States, specifically in his Allegheny County hometown where factory after factory has shut down or moved.

"I've lived here my whole life. I served my country in the United States Navy, and I love it," he said. "It's not just about profit."

On "Shark Tank," McCall said that while he knew the truck rack would not save the U.S. economy, he still wanted to try to bring jobs and hope to Sparta.

"I'm one man trying to do his best for this country," he said at the time. "I want to help my family and my investors financially but also my church, community, state and country in any way that I can."

McCall told ABC News that he was 100 percent certain he could still make the cargo rack in America. He said that since the show had aired, his company had sold out of cargo racks -- a total of 300 -- but it had not made a net profit. But McCall said that he was in talks with a manufacturer who wanted to invest in his product and then make and distribute it at stores in six to nine months.

Home Depot also told ABC News today that it was interested in speaking with him about his product.