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A Sanford man’s culinary invention is on the verge of shipping to customers across the country after it was fully-funded on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Dan Cranston came up with the idea for Grill Pinz – metal pins that hold bacon onto items around which it is wrapped before cooking on a grill – several years ago.

“There was one recipe for bacon-wrapped chicken which I really liked a lot, but I realized using toothpicks to hold the bacon on was not a good solution. They always end up burning, and they’re a hassle to get out,” said Cranston, a U.S. Army veteran and safety consultant who has lived in the Deep River area for about 20 years.

Cranston spent a couple years refining the idea – Grill Pinz are one piece pins made of food grade metal which hold bacon onto other foods – and doing market research. About a year ago, he sat down with a consultant who helped him take the next step, which was asking the public to crowdfund the project.

“There were probably eight to twelve weeks leading up to launching the campaign. It was myself and six other people, and that was probably one of the most stressful times of my life,” he said.

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The campaign launched May 2. While Cranston said there was an early surge from friends and supporters, there was a point about a week in when it “hit a flat spot” and looked like it wouldn’t meet the $11,000 goal.

“I really learned the hard way that just being on Kickstarter isn’t enough,” he said. “It’s really easy to get lost in the crowd. For just the casual Kickstarter supporter, it’s really kind of dumb luck to find any one thing.”

That led Cranston and his team to expand their approach to include paid Facebook advertising (most of the Facebook groups about grilling had strict policies against allowing Cranston to advertise his product; just one – the Weber Kettle Fans group – allowed him to do so, gaining him about a dozen customers), building a mailing list, and even hiring a public relations firm. But that approach worked, and the Grill Pinz campaign met its goal with a few days to spare.

With the Kickstarter campaign done, Cranston said Grill Pinz will now be sold via the company’s website and Facebook page, and the team is discussing options with both online and some brick and mortar outlets.

Watch the Grill Pinz Kickstarter video below:

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