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The Butter Bay Idea is Spreading Across the Nation

With the help of: TechHelp


Though the French know a thing or two about butter, it took Idaho financial analyst, Jerry Scarrow, to improve upon the centuries-old French Butter Crock. The idea for a better butter crock came to Scarrow during breakfast one morning in 2005 as he grew frustrated with his inability to spread cold hard butter from the fridge on his toast. The bell-shaped butter crock he owned was empty (as usual) because it was a pain to load and made a huge mess. “If only the crock was the shape of the butter cube," he thought. BING! Scarrow couldn’t believe no one had thought of this simple concept. He looked everywhere and found nothing and knew he’d have to make the cube-shaped container himself. Scarrow explains his preoccupation with butter storage by saying, “I’m a weird thinker with lots of ideas in my head. My ideas often succumb to busyness or indecision but I couldn’t get the butter idea out of my head."

The Challenge

Scarrow developed his first Butter Bay prototypes by hand at home with the help of his young daughters. He had a vision for the Butter Bay but lacked the advanced design and prototyping skills and manufacturing connections needed to turn his concept into a real product. A friend told him about the product design and prototyping services available from TechHelp, part of the MEP National Network™. TechHelp’s New Product Development (NPD) Team located at Boise State University offered exactly what he needed. Scarrow scheduled a meeting with the NPD Team and discovered the means to turn his vision into reality.
Every component of Butter Bay production benefits American Workers- from design to manufacturing to packaging. By creating Butter Bay, we lived the American Dream. We took an existing concept, made it better for our customers, and created American jobs, providing those involved an opportunity to make a fair and reasonable profit. What could be better than that?
— Jerry Scarrow, Inventor/Owner

MEP's Role

The NPD Team had a “Discovery” meeting with Scarrow during which they explored and vetted his idea. After agreeing that there was a viable market niche, the Team worked with Scarrow to develop a scope of work that included product design, prototyping, testing, and acting as laison with a manufacturer. The NPD Team also referred Scarrow to local legal experts who could help with patent and copyright issues. Scarrow’s handmade prototypes gave the NPD Team a rough idea of his concept. The Team translated Scarrow’s ideas into CAD drawings in SolidWorks and sought his input on revisions before making 3D parts on the lab’s SLA printer. Scarrow used the 3D prototypes to test the fit, feel, and functionality of the product and to recommend additional revisions before settling on a final design that could be manufactured. 

After a thorough search for a U.S. based manufacturer, Scarrow settled on American Mug and Stein in East Liverpool, Ohio. The company had the ability to handcraft quality stoneware the old-fashioned way. Each Butter Bay is made using the slip-cast method, finished by hand, and kiln-fired in a factory that was built in the early 1900s.

Created June 2, 2020, Updated July 12, 2021