Local man thrives in swim with 'Sharks'

Posted: January 17, 2014

HARD WORKERS in the Philadelphia area are having a moment in the spotlight.

On Jan. 10, Chester County forensic pathologist Jim Lewis appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank" to pitch his invention, Wall Rx. It's a product that fixes and "fits any size hole in your drywall between zero and four inches in diameter in less than two minutes."

The "sharks," five millionaire and billionaire investors including Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and Daymond John, founder of the clothing line FUBU, are notoriously hard sells.

But not for Lewis, 59, of Exton. He immediately received offers from four of the five sharks and eventually settled on an offer from Robert Herjavec, a technology mogul, who offered him $150,000 for no equity in his company and the exclusive rights to sell the product internationally.

"Those sharks are larger than life and they deserve it," Lewis said. "It went 10 times better than I expected."

But that's not to say he wasn't nervous.

"I think all the nerves have been chewed out of me," he said. "These are the most savvy investors in the world. I was taking deep breaths in the room hoping that maybe some of that billionaire air would get in my lungs."

Lewis has three patents and a fourth pending on his product. Before going on the show, he already had $600,000 in gross sales thanks to a deal with Lowe's.

He came up with the idea for Wall Rx when he was bringing up a fake Christmas tree from his basement three years ago and heard his daughter screaming. Lewis dropped the tree and went to tend to his little girl's scraped knee. When he returned to the tree, he saw the stem had put a 2-inch hole in his wall.

A handyman made him wait three weeks and charged him more than $250 to fix the hole.

"I paid him and said, 'I want to do something that will put you out of business,' " Lewis said.

Three years and 402 tries later, Lewis developed Wall Rx.

Lewis said his wife, his lawyer and his children urged him to audition for "Shark Tank."

The response he's received from the show has been "phenomenal," he said. In the days following its airing, the Wall Rx website logged more than 50,000 new requests, according to Lewis.

But it's still not enough for him to quit his day job at his private forensic pathology practice in Malvern - not just yet, anyway. He hopes that will change soon, with some behind-the-scenes deals.

Lewis says he knows just who to thank for his success.

"For all the women in the world: My wife was right and I should have listened to her a long time ago," he said. "She was right about the product and she was right about going on 'Shark Tank,' so listen to your wives, please!"


On Twitter: @FarFarrAway

Online: ph.ly/crime

Blog: ph.ly/Delco

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