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|VHS grad marketing new product|
A 1966 graduate of Vidalia High School has created a new product that can cool a boat cabin, tent or other small space and be used in the treating of the overheating of athletes. It also has applications in other markets, including trucking.
After graduating from VHS, Bonnie Iris McDonald Floyd earned a degree at LSU in 1979. After working in real estate in Baton Rouge for 20 years, Floyd is now President and CEO of Comfort Innovations, LLC, of Baton Rouge, and has been the driving force behind a new product called, "Go Cool".
More than five years ago, Floyd said Baton Rouge businessman Russell Martello invented an ice-chest air conditioner to cool his boat cabin to encourage his wife to spend leisure time with him on the water. Martello had a 35-year business background in heating and air-conditioning.
"When Russell told me of his invention," said Floyd, "I encouraged him to get it patented. Russell and his wife offered me part of the patent to take on the project. My immediate vision was for using it with a cool-down tent for the treatment of overheating of athletes, a big problem in sports. After initial market research, I immediately knew that the product was needed in many more markets, especially trucking."
For the past five years, Floyd has placed "every personal resource into the company, risking everything I spent a lifetime building to get the product redesigned into a commercial product and on the market."
She said "the journey has been long, filled with lessons on what 'not' to do, mold problems, manufacturing problems, design problems, years of travel searching for manufacturers of the various product parts, testing, promotion, and of course, facing rising costs and a lack of money."
Despite being told over and over again that it couldn't be done, she has done it, she said, without having to depend on a capital investor who required 90 percent ownership and control of the company. With assistance she developed her own business plan and she worked to overcome many obstacles. She said her children, Kelly and Brad, have played a big role in developing the product. Brad developed the company website, she said.
"Go Cool" can operate on a 12-volt rechargeable battery. The system dehumidifies the air, uses wall and vehicle lighter outlets (cords included), has a maximum draw of less than 2.0 amps, uses water (no coolants or chemicals) and works with bagged ice, block ice or frozen gel packs.
Floyd said the company is in a position to make a profit this year and will likely be debt free by year's end.
"I think that alone is unique in today's economy," she said, adding that success has come through hard work, perseverance and "my faith played an important part."
"Go Cool" is presently being marketed in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and on-line, and Floyd is seeking local retailers in Louisiana and Mississippi. For more information on the product see the website www.getgocool.com or contact Floyd at 225-766-7719.
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