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Offices along High Bluff and El Camino Real in Carmel Valley have become popular locations for law firms to open offices. Can’t really blame them for not wanting to go downtown every day and many of their clients live and/or work nearby. It was not too long ago that the Knobbe law firm hosted a panel for one of their clients going through the Connect Springboard program.
The company was presenting their business plan which was a rather ingenious plan to address the problem of disposing of alkaline batteries. Most household have multiple batteries in remote controls, toys, wireless phones, smoke alarms, and other consumer electronics. If the household has children, the amount of batteries used increases geometrically.
About three billion batteries are sold annually in the U.S. averaging about 32 per family or ten per person. All batteries are considered hazardous waste in California when they are discarded and all batteries must be recycled, or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler or an authorized recycling facility. Batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, which can contaminate the environment when batteries are improperly disposed of. Think of that next time you are tempted to just toss those all batteries in the trash.
Despite the disposal issues of batteries, only about 6% of batteries sold are rechargeable which is likely due to a number of reasons which include the higher cost of rechargeable batteries, the cost of chargers which historically don’t work very well and frustration with rechargeable batteries not holding a charge over time. This is clearly a problem that is calling for a “better mousetrap” to solve. Enter entrepreneurs Chi Yau and Joe Yeagley of Save Me Batteries.
Chi and Joe have developed a model for batteries that is not unlike what Red Box or Blockbuster or NetFlix have done with DVD’s. Utilizing kiosks and online orders, Save Me Products offers consumers the opportunity to get to fully charged rechargeable batteries and then the opportunity to swap them out when they need to be charged for fifty cents each. They have state of the art recharging equipment combined with low self discharging batteries which provide the opportunity for rechargeable batteries to be reused hundreds of times.
Save Me Batteries is an early stage company looking to penetrate a huge market as companies like Energizer, Duracell, Rayovac and others have combined annual revenues of $4-5 billion. Their first exchange units have recently been placed at a Circle K in Bressi Ranch and the Pacific Ridge High School. They are speaking with various retailers and are optimistic that their kiosks will be showing up in the future at grocery stores, drug stores and other locations where batteries are sold.
Mike Sick is an independent marketing consultant that has worked businesses and clients around the world from his home office in Carmel Valley since 2003. Having worked with over 50 businesses in a cross section of industries, Mike will write about tips and tricks learned along the way to help you grow or start your business. Prior to starting his business, Mike was a migrant marketing worker that traveled around the country as a corporate marketing executive. He has worked for many well known brands including Jack In The Box, Pearle Vision and Arby’s where he was a Marketing VP. Having worked with a number of inventors, Mike was inspired to invent his own product, a body surfing paddle called the Surf-Grip. So now even a trip to the beach has a business angle! A long time volunteer with Connect Springboard, Mike will also introduce San Diego start-ups and Carmel Valley entrepreneurs in his column. The Sickness is the belief you can get better every day. Go for it!