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August 29, 2013

Vote for local entrepreneur

Zionsville —

John Hanks, Zionsville's Santa Claus, may be delivering a bagful of chainsaw scabbards this year.

Hanks has created a low-cost cover for chainsaw blades and is attempting to get it marketed through Walmart's "Get on the Shelf" program. Called the safety sleeve, the cover is made of solid fiber card stock, which Hanks said is thin but rigid -- similar to the back of a writing pad. While he said the safety sleeve is made from virgin materials, it is 100 percent recyclable.

"It collapses," Hanks said. "It doesn't take up storage space, and it's perforated every 2 inches so you can fit it to your chainsaw blade."

He explained that inexpensive chainsaws don't come with a cover, so the safety sleeve is an economical alternative for safely storing and transporting chainsaws.

Hanks said he came up with the idea four years ago when he saw a customer returning a chainsaw and, as he had it held out, a toddler broke loose from her parents and nearly ran her face into the chainsaw blade. Hanks, now retired, used to work for Inland Container, so he's familiar with packaging. He said he designed safety sleeve and then got with a friend who produces it in Beech Grove.

In July, Hanks submitted a short video for "Get on the Shelf," pitching safety sleeve. "Get on the Shelf" allows inventors and entrepreneurs to pitch their products and Walmart customers to vote on their favorites. When voting ends, customer interest is gauged, and the top vote-getters have the opportunity to have their products carried in Walmart stores and at walmart.com. The grand champion also receives marketing assistance.

"I expect I'll hear something, probably in email form, by the fourth or fifth of the month," Hanks said.

If he should win, he said, he's not sure what price Walmart will put on safety sleeve.

Anyone wishing to vote for Hanks' safety sleeve can go online to https://getontheshelf.walmart.com/product/17ea/Safety-Sleeve and vote.

 

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