In only two years, Mallahan’s solution to a problem he encountered while painting his front door has become a million dollar idea — and is now being sold at top retailers such as Wal-Mart, ACE Hardware and more.

Mallahan is the inventor of the Tadpole Tape Cutter, a reusable dispenser for cutting tape.

“I was painting my front door and couldn’t get that perfect edge,” he said. “So I invented this and when you pull back, it kicks up. It creates a perfect cut. My job went from an hour to 15 minutes. I sat it down and I said ‘somebody might like this.’ And so I picked it up a couple months later and just started to get with it.”

After finalizing his design, he surrounded himself with a team of “great people and great companies,” as Mallahan put it, including Jeremy Cave (who handles marketing), a team of attorneys out of Dallas (the same group which represents Apple), and his wife, Karen, who has been his partner in the company from day one.

The tape cutters come in three different sizes — 1-inch, 1.5-inch, and 2-inch — and can be used for painting, packaging, and do-it-yourself projects.

Since the product hit the market, Mallahan’s Tadpole Tape Cutter has appeared on HSN’s program American Dreams becoming one of the show’s fastest selling items and has won the 2016 National Hardware Show Pinnacle Award.

As Mallahan’s business continues to grow, he is determined to keep Tadpole Tape Cutter in Shreveport. In fact, he employs workers through the Louisiana Association of the Blind and nearly all the parts used to manufacture the tape cutters are made locally.

“I wanted it in Shreveport-Bossier mainly because we live here and we need jobs. That was my goal,” he said. “I don’t care if it created one job or 50. My goal is to have it here.”

With all the attention Tadpole Tape Cutter is receiving, it’s no surprise that one of the largest tape companies in the world has taken an interest in Mallahan’s invention.

“We’ve had opportunities to go big with other major companies but they wanted too much control and we want to keep people working here and keep production here,” he said. “Maybe one day we’ll get to go fishing but it doesn’t have to be tomorrow.”

And if you thought Mallahan was done inventing, think again. His latest invention, PaintRings, a device applied to the lid of a paint bucket preventing paint from leaking down the sides of the cans, is poised to hit the market in the near future.

Owner: Lee Mallahan