Victoria inventor one step closer to getting his product on store shelves
Aug. 7, 2013 at 3:07 a.m.
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One Victoria inventor hopes the second time's a charm when it comes to marketing his product to the masses.
Charles Colson learned Tuesday that his Multipurpose Liquid Warmer advanced to the audition round in Wal-Mart's 2013 Get On The Shelf contest.
He also competed last year during the contest's first run.
Colson's invention is a clear, lighted box with space to hold four 16-ounce bottles. A small door leaves room to warm smaller items inside.
The product, powered by a candelabra bulb, safely heats lotions, oils, sauces, syrups and more, he said, and can remain on 24 hours a day.
But it doesn't end there.
It can double as a night light or - with an overturned lid and a few drops of scented oil - an air freshener.
"I think Wal-Mart would welcome it for its versatility," said Colson, who owns hair cutting and massage therapy businesses in Victoria. "It could be sold in many departments throughout the store."
In the audition round, people's online votes help Wal-Mart determine how much public support the products have, according to a letter released by the company. People can vote once per day per product through Sept. 2.
To view and vote for the warmer, visit getontheshelf.walmart.com, click "search" at the top and type in "Multipurpose Liquid Warmer."
Colson's invention got its start more than two decades ago, when he and a friend set out to manufacture the product themselves. He said they realized they couldn't create the mass quantities needed, however, and opted to go with a manufacturer in China.
That deal later fell through due to rising costs.
Colson has sold warmers through the years, however. And, in 1992, he was selected to show his product at the National Inventors Expo in Washington, D.C.
He said cinching a contest win would mean a lot.
"This is a goal that I have worked for for many years," he said. "I hope that Wal-Mart will see the benefit of it. This would be a great start."
Finalists from the audition round go on to have their stories featured in an original web series, according to the Wal-Mart website. From there, some winners' products will find a home at Walmart.com, and the contest's grand champions will also receive marketing support.
Regardless of the outcome, Colson said he looks forward to the chance to show others just what he's made of.
"I'm one that never lets up. People who know me know that I keep going," said Colson, who is visually impaired but called the disability a blessing, as it improved his sense of touch and aided in his invention. "I don't think you get anywhere unless you keep trying."