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An invention sparked by a life-changing crash. A product that transforms a bag of dirt into a fruitful plan forward. A matriarch's family recipe passed down through generations of meals.
Sound like products on Lowe's shelves? They are now. Lowe's unveiled the top entrepreneurs and their products from the home improvement retailer's first virtual pitch program, Making It … with Lowe's, hosted by Daymond John, star of ABC's Shark Tank and a New York Times best-selling author. The program, which invited diverse entrepreneurs to pitch their products, has resulted in Lowe's evaluating more than 400 new products for sale on Lowes.com or on Lowe's store shelves.
"I trusted this program would unearth great products, but our whole team was thrilled by the level of innovation the Making It…with Lowe's participants brought us," said Marvin R. Ellison, Lowe's president and CEO. "Lowe's began nearly a century ago as a small-town hardware store, and we know small business is the backbone of our economy. These products reflect the diverse needs of our customers and the communities we serve, and our Making It…with Lowe's program attempts to give these diverse small business owners a shot at the American Dream – and inspire others through their stories."
Based on the success of its first season, Lowe's today announced Making It… with Lowe's will return for a second season this fall, encouraging diverse entrepreneurs nationwide to get their pitches ready. Additional details will be shared at a later date.
The top three Making It…with Lowe's: Season One entrepreneurs include:
Joe Porche, Multus Handle and Haul (Metairie, Louisiana): When a drunk driver struck Joe's vehicle, his life changed instantly. Before the crash, Joe loved his job as a physician assistant helping others. He also loved a good DIY project. When the crash injured Joe's back, neck and wrists, he used that challenge to create solutions for others. Joe developed Multus Handle and Haul to help people more easily and safely grab and move bulk items. His effective, easy-to-use, tie-down strap comes with an adjustable handle to help move awkward or heavy items. Joe's unwavering commitment to focusing on opportunities instead of challenges earned Handle and Haul the unique position of top product during Lowe's virtual pitch program. In addition to earning coveted space on Lowes.com and in Lowe's stores, Joe received a mentoring support package, a marketing support package, a business development package and a $50,000 Lowe's Small Business Grant.
Christina Woerner McInnis, SoilKit (Foley, Alabama): Christina is a fifth-generation farmer who understands the importance and challenges of soil testing and wanted to bring its benefits to the everyday homeowner. SoilKit provides consumers with the tools to take a soil sample and receive expert lab reports to better understand how to keep their lawn and garden healthy. In addition to earning coveted space on Lowes.com and in Lowe's stores, Christina received a marketing support package, a mentoring package and a $5,000 Lowe's Small Business Grant.
Taufeek Shah, Lola's Fine Hot Sauce (Des Moines, Iowa): Lola's is a minority-owned hot sauce company made in America that uses each of the world's hottest peppers for great flavor. Born from a generational family recipe from Taufeek's mother, Lola's is an Asian-American inspired hot sauce that brings consumers a universal, gluten free, vegan, 100% all-natural and non-GMO project-verified accoutrement to their grill stations. In addition to earning coveted space on Lowes.com and in Lowe's stores, Taufeek received a marketing support package and a $5,000 Lowe's Small Business Grant.
"These entrepreneurs exceeded our highest expectations," said Bill Boltz, Lowe's executive vice president, merchandising. "With their creative solutions, business prowess and powerful stories, we identified some of the most innovative and valued home improvement products in the marketplace, which we're excited to offer our customers."
An entrepreneur's journey from their virtual pitch to their arrival on Lowe's shelves doesn't end when the cameras shut down. And that's where Lowe's is trying to make a difference, to help small businesses with no experience with a big company understand what's involved to really make their dreams come true. Lowe's merchandising team has taken the entrepreneurs' feedback throughout the process to find ways to simplify, from helping small businesses complete steps required to move forward to helping obtain the proper certifications. A digital catalogue of products will continue to update, adding even more innovative products, throughout 2021 and beyond, as Lowe's announced plans for a second season of the program. More information is available at Lowes.com/MakingItWithLowes.
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