Local man selling his invention all over the world

Brian Wholehan will be pitching his product to Walmart next week.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Entrepreneurs were the building blocks of this city, and that spirit is still thriving today. A Sylvania man’s time overseas sparked the idea for his invention and he’s about to pitch it to the largest retailer in the world.

Brian Wholehan is a financial advisor for his family’s firm. He’s also an inventor. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.

One of Wholehan’s creations is shedding new light on an old problem.

“It’s sold all over the world at this point. I’ve sold it in about 16 countries and counting. A sale from yesterday is going to Australia,” Wholehan said.

It’s called the EZ Shade. Brian described it as a basic cover for exposed lights. “It’s a cheap and simple way to put clips on and cover it without having to rewire it,” he said.

The idea for the product came about while Wholehan was living in Dubai. “I had an apartment that had ten exposed bulbs and there was nothing that just clipped onto the bulbs, and it would have been costly to change all the bulbs out,” he said.

EZ Shade is made out of recycled plastics. It was originally manufactured overseas, but Wholehan moved production here earlier this year.

“I brought the product with me when I moved back to Toledo last January. I brought a lot of it with me to test market it here. I sold it quickly with no marketing or advertising,” he said.

It’s now made at Basilius Incorporated in Toledo. Wholehan said a local metal worker helped fine-tune the bracket. Employees at Lott Industries are involved in the final stages. “The wonderful people at Lott do all the packaging and final inspection of the product before it’s sent out,” Wholehan added.

Wholehan is heading to Arkansas next week to try to get EZ Shade on the shelves of the largest retailer in the world, Walmart. “This is a chance to pitch for thirty minutes and show them my product and demonstrate it. I could get test stores, like maybe only in Ohio, or they could want it in all their stores,” he said.

And all the local ties are important to Wholehan as he works to grow the company. “It’s an American product. It’s homegrown family businesses that are working on it. It supports all the things we need to be doing in America again,” he said

The EZ Shade is sold at several sites online. They go for $17.95 apiece.

On a side note, before Wholehan was a financial advisor, he was a Special Education teacher and he traveled the world for more than a decade helping build school programs.

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