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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seven Hills Councilman Builds a Better Sippy Cup

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

reflo.jpg

Seven Hills Councilman Pete Draganic’s campaign last year for a seat on Cuyahoga’s new county council didn’t go so well: The Republican was trounced by Parma Democrat Chuck Germana. But Draganic has found a higher calling than county government reform: eradicating toddler messes.

He’s invented and patented the Reflo Smart Cup, a variation on the venerable sippy cup. It’s an open cup with a plastic insert that controls the flow of liquid no matter what angle a child drinks from.

Draganic says he started mulling over the idea when his children — now in high school and college — were young. He experimented with some early, unsuccessful versions.

Then came his epiphany. “About a year and a half ago, I laid down to go to sleep, and I had a eureka moment. It came to me how to do it.”

Draganic, a contractor who likes to tinker, created the sketches and made the prototype on a lathe in his garage. He sold his first cup in December of last year, and he’s now in discussions about distribution with two big-time national retailers and a local drugstore chain.

And how much is Ohio benefiting from Draganic’s genius, you might ask? Not a whole lot: Some of the Reflo’s parts are made in China, but most of it comes from Indiana. Why not Ohio?

“What we ran into was with the cost of tooling to have the plastic injection mold made,” he says, “I couldn’t afford to do it locally. Costs were 15 times as much to have a single-cavity mold made here.”

Ohio: We Keep Indiana Working. — Anastasia Pantsios

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