Locker doors opening for Clinton inventor after ‘Shark Tank’

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Published: January 24,2014

Tags: Business, entertainment, Mississippi, Shark Tank

SharkTank-logo_rgbClinton’s Greg Cronin did what any good dad would do. He used his ingenuity to help solve a problem for his daughter, Ashley.

Then he did what any smart dad would do — he took his new invention national.

After last week’s appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” many doors have opened for Cronin and his partner Dr. Stephen Coachys — mainly more locker doors.

Cronin and Coachys pitched their product LockerBones, a customizable wooden shelf storage system for school lockers, hoping one of the millionaire investors — or sharks — would bite on their offer. The two wanted $175,000 in investment capital in exchange for 10 percent of their business.

After taking verbal attacks over the lack of a solid distribution plan, which caused three of the five sharks to jump back, a joint counteroffer was pitched by QVC’s Lori Greiner and technology innovator Robert Herjavec — $175,000 in cash for 50 percent of the business.

Cronin and Coachys quickly accepted the offer.

“Fifty percent is high, but we make up for it with a much bigger pie,” said Coachys. “Robert and Lori have connections and the ability to finance growth now.”

Other members of the rotating Shark Tank pool where on this episode were billionaire Mark Cuban, owner and chairman of AXS TV and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, and venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary. The episode was filmed in Burbank, Calif., in September, and the results were kept secret until last week’s show. Many of those involved attended a watch party hosted by marketing agency Think Webstore in Ridgeland.

During the show’s airing, the LockerBones.com website was pushed to its max, said Bryan Carter of Think Webstore, but Think Webstore technicians had set up a dedicated server just for the event.

“We set up a ‘monster’ server,” said Carter. “The next level up would be server cluster with distributed traffic like you see on sites such as Amazon, eBay and Google.

“We had nearly one million hits and served six gigabytes of page data.”

Orders are coming from individuals as well as schools that want to sell the product to students using the LockerBones fundraising program. So far, the Sharks seem happy with the response.

Even before the show aired, sharks were already moving on molding options for a colored plastic production version of the shelves. Says Coachys, “We have been in regular touch with the Sharks since the episode was taped and the deal was struck. Everything is moving forward.”

“I could not be more happy,” said Cronin. “We got the product this far as a labor of love. Working with the Sharks allows us to quickly share this product nationally. LockerBones is designed and proven to save time and stress for students, administrators, and parents.

“It is a win for everyone involved.”

LockerBones was developed three years ago when Cronin’s daughter Ashley want an efficient way to organize her junior high school locker. To solve her problem, Cronin used plywood and a dado blade to create a wooden shelf storage system. It became a hit, and requests from other students started arriving.

Cronin and his daughter spent months perfecting their prototypes for a customizable version and began selling to schools. After two years of field testing, Cronin received orders from six Jackson-area schools. Kits range from $29 to $39 on the LockerBones website.

Cronin set up a business, FMD Organizers (For My Daughter/From My Dad), and Think Webstore to create an online presence for orders. That’s when Coachys submitted an application to appear on Shark Tank, hoping to find investment capital and influential business partners.

 

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