Mercer Island High School sophomore Ben Elliot knows about tennis. He has played for the last six years and is a member of the MIHS team. His older brother plays, as does his dad. Tennis players know that racket stringing comes with the game, but Elliot has set out to solve the problem of where to get those rackets restrung, while helping the community.
Elliot started String4Others, which donates the money earned from stringing rackets to local nonprofits.
Elliot said he got the idea because he has grown up with the idea of volunteering and knowing it was something he wanted to do.
“I wanted to find a way to give back,” he said. While he has been stringing tennis rackets for a couple of years, a skill that his dad taught him, the idea of doing it as a service for others is a recent revelation.
“I’ve been doing it for the last couple of years, but started the business a couple of months ago,” he said. “My dad taught me how [to string]. It seems like it’s difficult, but once you do it a couple times, it’s not so hard.”
Money earned will go to the Mercer Island Family Assistance Program, unless someone specifies another charity.
“I liked it because it’s more directed to people on Mercer Island,” he said. “There are a lot of people on Mercer Island who don’t want to publicize they need help, so hopefully this can help them.”
Elliot said the amount of time it takes to restring a racket really depends on the type of string being used. The Technifibre pro red code poly takes about an hour for Elliot to restring because it’s thicker, but the synthetic gut string takes him only about 30 minutes. Either way, String4Others has a same day or next day service, meaning he’ll restring it and get it back to customers as fast as he can.
Elliot said he has done one or two rackets a week since starting String4Others, mostly for friends of the family and tennis players who the Elliots know. He hopes to expand and get much busier.
“I’d love to get more rackets per week,” he said. As of right now, Elliot is the sole racket stringer, but he said he’s teaching his younger brother how to do it.
“Maybe someday he’ll take it over for me,” said Elliot.
So far Elliot said his favorite part of restringing rackets for the community has been the chance to meet and talk to the people who bring in their rackets.
“I like meeting the people who bring me their rackets,” he said. “I’m also going to really like when we can start giving the money away.”
Elliot charges $25 to restring a racket with Wilson Extreme Synthetic Gut, and $30 for the Technifibre pro red code poly. If customers want to bring their own string, Elliot charges $20. All the money will be donated to the MI Family Assistance Program or to a charity of choice.
To learn more or to contact Elliot, email him at email@example.com or visit the website at string4others.org.