Spokane Journal of Business

Sweet dreams and firearms

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Sweet dreams and firearms
-—Staff photo by Kim Crompton
John Adrain says BedBunker invention is attracting attention from gun-related magazines and was featured on a radio show.

Spokane inventor John Adrain figures that since people spend a third of their lives in bed, there's no better place for gun enthusiasts and people concerned about possible home invasions to store their weapons than under the mattress—though in a secure, but easily accessible vault.

Through a company he owns called Heracles Research Corp., Adrain recently began manufacturing and marketing a product called the BedBunker that he designed specifically for that purpose, though it also can be used for storing other valuables.

The BedBunker basically is a two-piece cabinet made mostly of 10-gauge steel that weighs upwards of 1,300 pounds—for the king-sized bed version—and that can hold as many as 32 rifles and 70 hand guns in side-by-side locked compartments. It's designed to replace the box spring under twin, queen, or king-size mattresses and is compatible with most standard bed frames, Adrain says.

"You actually build your bed around the BedBunker," he says, asserting that using it instead of a box spring under the mattress results in little loss of bed comfort.

At retail prices ranging from $2,700 for the twin-sized bed model to $5,200 for the king, he says, "They're expensive but they're expensive to build." He says he uses the best materials he can find in the cabinets, including premium Israeli-made locks that cost hundreds of dollars apiece wholesale, and guarantees the cabinets for life.

He says he began offering them for sale just in the last few weeks through a couple of local retailers, Northwest Pawn & Collector Arms, at 818 N. Pines, and Wing Sales, at 1221 N. Freya Way, and through a Web site he's created at www.bedgunsafe.com. Also, he says, "I've got people who are calling and interested in being set up (as dealers)."

He says he's built less than a dozen BedBunkers so far and has sold some, but has been receiving orders for them and expects demand to pick up further, including potential buyers outside of the U.S., as more people become aware they're available.

"I think there's a big potential international market," Adrain says.

He operates the venture from his upscale home in rural West Spokane and contracts with a North Idaho metal fabricator, which he declines to name, to manufacture the BedBunkers.

"The key is to find a good team to work with. We're set up for production where we can handle quite a few. I'd like to hope that we can hire a lot of people" at the fabrication shop to build them as sales rise, he says.

He was interviewed about the BedBunker recently on the nationally syndicated Tom Gresham's Gun Talk radio show, and his product has garnered publicity in other gun aficionado arenas, such as on the Accurateshooter.com Bulletin. He says he's been told that magazines such as American Rifleman, Gun World, and Shotgun News also will be publishing reports on it soon.

Adrain says the patented, under-mattress design of the BedBunker offers many benefits. One is that it doesn't call attention to itself—like many gun safes—because it's concealed, and another is that it uses floor space that otherwise is wasted, he says.

Each of the two sections of the queen-and king-size BedBunkers measures 78 inches long by 30 inches wide and is 15 inches deep, equipped with threaded inch-thick legs that enable it to be elevated to a height of about 11 inches. Each side also has a single 140-pound door, activated by a hydraulic gas piston that pops the door open a few inches when the door is unlocked and enables a person to raise and lower the door easily by hand.

Each door has two heavy-duty locks that are designed to be tamper-resistant, he says, and concealed hinges that are intended to further frustrate potential burglars. Adrain says also that the sheer weight of the BedBunker—the modular sections bolt to one another from the inside once they're positioned where the owner wants them—also will be a deterrent to criminals.

"They would have to have a forklift to get it out of your home," he says.

Additionally, he says the BedBunker's inner walls are lined with a heat-resistant material designed to keep the contents safe if there is a fire. His Web site says that sealing system has undergone certified 120-minute tests in temperatures up to 1,500 degrees.

For people concerned about how quickly they could get into the BedBunker if someone broke into their home, Adrain says he recently shot video and posted it on YouTube to show that it takes less than 10 seconds to push a mattress aside, unlock one of BedBunker doors, and grab a gun.

Adrain is a strong proponent of gun ownership rights, and asserts, "Stats show that where there's high, responsible gun ownership, there is less crime." He claims, for example, that Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world despite having liberal gun ownership laws.

"My father was a Marine, and from a young age I was taught to have respect for firearms and to treat all firearms as if they're loaded. The important thing is education and training," he says.

Adrain declines to say how many guns he owns, but says he enjoys target shooting. He says he supports hunting, but doesn't hunt wild game, other than with a camera. He is an outdoor and wildlife photography enthusiast, specializing in photos of Alaskan grizzly bears.

Adrain grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and came to the western U.S. to attend college at Utah State University, in Logan, Utah, earning a degree in business administration there in 1982.

While still in high school, he had worked for a time for Indiana-based Kruse International, which claimed to be the world's largest collector-car auction company, and he continued to do auction-related work for Kruse while in college.

"I would say it was very formative for me because I got to be around some very powerful people," he says.

To help fund his studies, he says he also got a real estate license and began selling real estate while in college, but still was able to complete his degree in two and a half years.

He then took a job with giant Texas-based oil field equipment auction company Nelson International and later sold computerized milling machines and lathes used in the aerospace and medical industry. In the late 1980s, he says, he started a company in California called Adaptive Technologies that sold alternative-fuel and aftermarket automotive components.

"I'm an inventor. I have a number of automotive patents," such as one that involves mobile license plate recognition technology used in law enforcement vehicles, he says. "Unfortunately, I'm also an experienced litigator," because of the need to hire attorneys to try to enforce patients, he adds, bemoaning the amount of money he's spent on legal fees.

Adrain and his wife, Jamie, and their two young children moved to the Spokane area about two and a half years ago from the Bay Area. He was aware of the Inland Northwest from his business travels, and says, "We liked the climate, and the community is very family oriented. San Francisco, where we lived, is the most kid-unfriendly place in the country, and Spokane is just the opposite."

Through Heracles, which he and a former co-investor founded about a year ago, Adrain co-invented an anti-phishing software that he says Heracles plans at some point to market jointly with a British company. Phishing is a fraudulent attempt, usually being done through e-mail, to steal someone's personal information, such as account user names and passwords. For now, though, Adrain says he's put that venture on the back burner so he can focus on the BedBunker, and is using accumulated savings to fund the startup.

That focus doesn't mean he doesn't also have other irons in the fire.

"I'm working on other patents," he says, declining to be more specific.

Coming up with invention ideas on a near-constant basis, he says, simply is something that seems hard-wired into his brain chemistry. "I just get things in the middle of the night," he says. "It's like something I can't turn off."

Kim Crompton
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