Three South Florida residents hope they have what it takes to get their inventions on the shelves at Walmart stores nationwide.
They’ve each entered their own unique products in Walmart’s Get on the Shelf competition, which boasts more than 4,000 inventors across the country who are all vying for the top prize: a spot on the shelf inside Walmart stores.
Symone Tulloch from Coral Springs is hoping her invention, The Bed Grabber will make it through the first round of online voting. The Bed Grabber is a fitted bed sheet with an elastic band stitched into it that helps keep the sheet from slipping off the surface of the bed.
Tulloch came up with the idea after spending many nights fighting with the fitted sheet on her bed when a corner would slip up.
“Right now is just the nerve-wrecking, paranoid part when you don’t know if you’re going to make it or not,” said Tulloch, a 26-year-old Florida Atlantic University graduate.
She entered her product, which is patent pending, on the last day before the Feb. 22 submission deadline.
Inventors were required to create a short video about their product and upload it to the Get on the Shelf website. Voters can cast their votes through text, Facebook or the website, but the site doesn’t show how many votes an inventor is tallying up.
“That’s the hardest part,” Tulloch said. “Not knowing how many votes you have.”
The first round of voting at getontheshelf.com ends on April 3. Then the top 10 products will go on to a second round of voting from April 11-24. Three top contestants and the grand winner will then be announced.
Jorge Samuell of Miami put all of his savings into turning his invention from an idea to a reality.
The Hard Hitting Pro Advanced model is a baseball training tee that uses a motor to hold the ball in mid-air. The machine can rotate from side to side to simulate inside and outside pitches, and also have the ball drop and rise in the air as a training method.
Samuell said the idea hit him one day while his son was playing baseball.
“I tried very hard to get an investor for almost two years,” Samuell said. “They are not easy to find.”
Before entering the contest, Samuell patented his idea and has since found a manufacturer in China which produces the product. It sells for $300.
“I hear it is not easy to negotiate with Walmart,” Samuell said. “So if I win, that is my next challenge.”
Aunt and niece, JD Danner and Joanie Cox from Boca Raton are confident that their Christian T-shirt company would be a good fit for Walmart stores.
“It would be a dream come true just to have the chance to bring a product we believe in to hundreds of thousands of people every day,” said Cox.
Bible Belt Outfitters designs T-shirts with bible verses and simple art on them. Styles range for men and women, but prices remain under $20.
The Get on the Shelf contest had attracted more than 274,000 votes as of early March, according to a press release. That’s an average of 55,000 votes cast daily.
“We have been amazed by the number of entries for Get on the Shelf, and by the community’s passion and excitement for the contest,” said Guha Jayachandran, principal engineer at WalmartLabs who developed the idea for the contest. “Discovering products we may not have otherwise known about combined with the power of social media makes this a unique and fun contest.”