by Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A local inventor is seeing continued success with her adjustable BBQ scraper product called the BBQ Shape n’ Scrape which will be featured at a booth at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show in Las Vegas in January.
North Grenville resident Irma Duguay first conceived of the adjustable scraper after experiencing first-hand the danger that can be caused by regular BBQ scrapers which can break apart and leave metal bristles in food. Her product does not use bristles but is instead made of wood with an adjustable shape that instantly fits the profile of the grill being cleaned. It took Irma over a year to design the scraper, as she tried out many designs and tried to improve on all of the negative aspects of traditional scrapers.
The Times reached out to Irma for more information on the significance of the product’s inclusion at the upcoming Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. Irma revealed that the Las Vegas show is strictly for retailers and sports marketing firms, and is not open to the public. It is a very large event where approximately $20 million worth of deals were brokered last year. Irma is hoping that the show produces deals on the sports marketing side, meaning that her BBQ scraper would be used as a promotional tool by sports leagues such as the NHL. To demonstrate just how lucrative the show is, Irma revealed that a booth usually costs about $20,000 USD, which is considered reasonable because retailers are in attendance and are ready to buy.
The inclusion in the show is only the most recent in a string of important milestones for Irma’s invention, which is already available on Amazon.ca, and which Irma anticipates will be available for purchase in retail stores in the coming years. However, the industry is not without its issues, particularly when it comes to the supply chain. A current energy crisis in China – where the parts for the BBQ Shape n’ Scrape Ô are made – is causing production to slow to a crawl. Irma told the Times that many factories in China are only being allowed to operate for two days per week in order to save energy, with some factories choosing to bear the cost of running generators for power in order to keep products moving. The slow production means that although Irma anticipates brokering deals with retailers such as Walmart at the Las Vegas show, her company will not be fulfilling those orders until 2023.
Irma is very proud of the success of her product, and it is clear that she is dedicated to getting her invention out into the world. She largely credits PA Marketing with the success of her business. “Basically, they handle everything from sourcing, overseeing manufacturing, factory audits, procurement, logistics, storage capacity and final distribution of the finished product. After several conference calls with PA Marketing, we had a sales agreement signed and our journey/partnership began.” Irma told the Times. “This is really an exciting time for me. I couldn’t be happier. I hope my story inspires anyone who has a dream!”
More information about Irma and her journey can be learned by visiting her website at https://adjustablebbqscraper.com/pages/my-story. For those interested in learning more about the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show, information can be found at https://sportstailgateshow.com/.