The “Shark” Resident of Lantana

The “Shark” Resident of Lantana

The “Shark” Resident of Lantana

by Barbara-Scott Kolb

The creative cogs in Rick Hopper’s mind have been churning since he was a child, and over time, his inventions have proven that America – the land of opportunity – can make dreams come true with hard work. That includes one invention that landed him national attention on the show Shark Tank.

As the story goes, Rick had developed a knack of taking ordinary objects and transforming them into clever contraptions, a skill he continued to pursue throughout adulthood. But around age 40, Rick began experiencing an inevitable physiological change – foggy vision. We all experience that as we get older, but is imperative for an inventor to be able to see up close. Rick purchased glasses, but running around testing new inventions makes carrying around reading glasses a nuisance.  “When I turned 40, and this happened to me, reading glasses drove me crazy. I was always losing them or putting them in my shirt collar, and they would fall out, scratch, or break,” Rick said.

Being the true problem-solver that he is, Rick came up with a solution by creating an eyeglass holder with a paper clip and a couple of household magnets. It seemed like a pretty simple invention that no one but Rick would appreciate, but that following year, friends, colleagues, and passing strangers constantly approached him inquiring where they could buy one of those gadgets. It was then that Rick became encouraged to refine his eyeglass holder with high-grade magnets and stainless steel, retrieve a patent, and begin selling it. Rick sold his product – eventually becoming known as ReadeREST – at local tradeshows for six months and received an outstanding response.

It didn’t take long for those who were praising him to start hounding him to take his product to Shark Tank. Shark Tank is notoriously known for its uncompromising, intimidating panel of business magnates. Entrepreneurs are afforded the opportunity to present their business model to the panel in hopes of receiving a sort of business arrangement. They must endure a nerve-racking presentation in which they are grilled with questions covering every little aspect of their company. He decided to apply, and just a week later he was invited to the show. “I was so nervous, and I almost passed out. I practiced my business’ numbers upside down, sideways, everything. I wanted to make a deal, but I didn’t want to give up controlling interest.” 

Rick withstood his time in the hot seat, anxiously waiting on a proposal from one of the “sharks.” His patience was rewarded with an offer from “the queen of QVC,” Lori Greiner, in which he closed on. Before his appearance on Shark Tank, Rick had drawn in $65,000 in sales with his magnetic eyeglass holders. The first time Lori displayed it on QVC, she sold out in eight minutes while totaling $300,000 worth of product. Rick and Lori remain unstoppable, having now sold roughly $34 million of ReadeREST over the last seven years. Rick has never once wavered from modesty, work ethic, or vigilance throughout the success of his company, valuing his passion for innovation as the priority over means. “When I was in my 20s working at Home Depot and making 14 bucks an hour, it was not possible for me to be any happier if I was a millionaire. Before trying to make it big, make sure you’re happy with little because it’s guaranteed you won’t be happy with much if you aren’t already happy.”

 

ReadeREST is available for purchase through the website www.readerest.com, retail stores and Amazon.
For Lantana residents, use the coupon code Lantana for 25% off.


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