Valdosta Daily Times

July 15, 2013

Inventor seeks entrepreneurial grip

Quinten Plummer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — From belt buckles embedded with retractable pens to planes that disassemble into sections and parachute passengers to safety in sealed compartments, Genaro Texidor’s ideas have spanned from large to small, and now, he hopes his smallest and most recent invention will play a large role in keeping seniors on their feet.

He has created non-slip foot patches that attach directly to a person’s feet.

The foot patches are good for many things, says Texidor of the lightweight grip pads that adhere to the pad and soles of a wearer’s feet.

“I saw several accidents with people failing, slipping and breaking an arm or a leg, especially old people. And so I said to myself, why don’t they just put patches on their feet,” says Texidor with eyes likely as wide as the day the idea came to him.

Texidor doesn’t believe the pads are fail-proof by any means, but he hopes the benefits and low price of the product will draw consumers and keep people safe, he says.

“This will work until something better arrives,” says Texidor. “People are likely to be more aware when they have something on their feet, at least. They think that they might fall so they stand firm, and it’s not easy slipping on the pads. It’s also not a guarantee that you won’t fall, but they help. Use them wisely.”

Texidor’s grip pads, his ideas and the characters he has met throughout his life have all manifested into a bouquet of varying colors. They all come in different sizes and materials, too.

“There were all kinds of crazy people in my car,” says Texidor as his eyes narrow to those of the one-time taxi driver from Manhattan. “This one doctor told me how an operation was done, and he said it was just like butchering a chicken. You just spread everything to the side, do what you have to do and then sew it back. He made it seem simple, you know.”

He was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Manhattan. After the passing of his parents and a couple of years of active duty in the Army, Texidor returned and found work wherever he could in New York.

“My father was an artist, and it ran in the family,” says Texidor. “I went beyond painting because I had mechanical abilities. I’d go under the car and take the transmission apart. Many of the things I knew how to handle, I did on my own.”

After more than 20 years as a cab driver shuttling New Yorkers down crowded avenues into the Big Apple’s core, Texidor says he headed south to maximize the power of his retirement dollars.

It was too cold in New York and the cost of living was too high, so Texidor looked south to retire. It was before Florida’s housing bubble burst, so the Puerto Rican native thought better of moving to South Florida and retired in South Georgia instead.

“I retired here, but I still work on new ideas,” says Texidor. “My last big invention was the belt buckle with the writing pens in Augusta. I sold several of them there and I sold a lot of them through mail. Then everything died down when I had a heart operation. I stopped everything. Open-heart surgery was no easy thing. I had about three or four months recovery, now it’s been about two years.”

He started his grip pad/foot patches by hand, and scissors, then he started using a small machine to stamp out the grip pads. He has worked with graphic designers on marketing materials and he has sought to out-source production of the pads.

“I tried several manufacturing firms and none seemed to be able to make it for me. I was working on a contract with China. They sent me some samples, but then it’s a matter of volume. I can’t afford that kind of volume. They’re talking 300,000 or more.”

Texidor has obtained

 a provisional patent for the grip pads, which will last about a year, but he plans to file for a standard patent at the end of the one-year term, he says.

"I don’t see a reason why I shouldn’t get it, because I’ve searched high and low and haven’t found anything like it,” he says. “Lambert & Lambert was the group that made the evaluation. The numbers were pretty good, and impressive. They couldn’t find anything like it much to compare it to, and they found that it was just less bulky to carry around.”

Texidor continues collaboration with idea buyers with hopes of cultivating his buckle pens, grip pads and mattress savers into an online store front, says Texidor.

If one thing pays off, it could push the other products to succeed, reasons Texidor, who says he feels confident in his product after receiving thousands of dollars in investments from friends.

“You know you question your ideas and whether everyone else appreciates them and then people reaffirm you,” says Texidor. “I’m still trying to push it, because its not easy getting something on the market. There is a lot of junk on the market and people pay for it. So I say to myself, this is a safety feature and it’s inexpensive. You’re going on vacation, take it with you. You’re at the pool, dive in with your pads on.”