Elmore native & partner hope to cut a deal on “Shark Tank”

Tammy Walro

        Elmore native Chris Pavlica will take a dive into the “Shark Tank,” appearing on the popular TV show on Friday, May 7 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
        Pavlica, a Woodmore High School alumnus, and his business partner, Kevin Consolo, who hails from the Cleveland area, will be showcasing their invention, SneakERASER – a pre-moistened instant sneaker cleaner designed to erase dirt, grime and scuffs from shoe midsoles, looking to make a deal with the show’s “sharks.”
        Like many successful products, necessity was the mother of the invention of SneakERASER.
        Pavlica, who moved to the West Coast to pursue a career in the film industry after attending Ohio University in Athens, landed the opportunity to become a director of immersive theater experiences. His projects include a number of cinematic, immersive experiences, ride films, and interactives playing in custom theaters around the world for brands such as Heineken, Coca-Cola, Ford, NASA, and many more.
        It was in 2016, as he was in Atlanta preparing for a pitch meeting for a film project for Coca-Cola, that he encountered a real-life sneaker-cleaning emergency.
        As he was in his hotel preparing for the presentation, he reached into his luggage to grab his brand-new sneakers – the highlight of his outfit – only to realize they were marked up and scuffs.
        With only 20 minutes until the meeting, he feverishly searched online for a quick way to shine up his shoes. Suggestions included bathroom cleaner and other items which he didn’t have available. He settled on trying some hand sanitizer, tissues and some elbow grease, which took the whole 20 minutes until he had to leave.
        After the meeting, Pavlica called Consolo to tell him about the shoe dilemma. As sophomore-year roommates at OU, the pair would spend late nights in Bromley Hall trying to think up business ideas that could become the next million-dollar idea, but they just never came up with the right thing.
        The pair spent the next several months developing a product that would provide a convenient, quick and effective way to make athletic shoes look bright and new again. They painstakingly researched materials, formulas, prototypes and manufacturers.
        Consolo, who had moved east, flew to in Los Angeles, and the pair went all-in on their entrepreneurial journey. After much trial and error in “the lab” (aka Pavlica’s garage), they finally landed on a design for a pre-moistened, dual-sided cleaner that quickly and effectively removed scuff marks, dirt and grime from shoes.
        They designed and ordered their first packaging run for the first-ever Instant Sneaker Cleaner (then called “Sole Rubbers”) and ordered their first pallet that shipped across the country.
        Ohio State University graduate Nick Wax, a friend and key collaborator, joined them in putting together the first batch of products. Wax, also from Elmore, and Pavlica have been friends since they were 5 years old.
        They started by selling to shoe stores and soon realized their shoe cleaner had more of a mass appeal than they first realized. What started as an entrepreneurial passion became a full-time gig.
        Currently SneakERASER is available online at www.sneakerasers.com and on the shelves at more than 30,000 retail locations including Walmart, Kroger, Meijer, CVS, Costco and more.
        Their line of products has also expanded to include GolfERASERS, instant cleaners for golf club faces, golf balls and shoes; and AutoERASERS, a ready-to-use detailing sponge that removes black marks, insects, sap, grease, dirt and more on vehicle trim, wheel wells, exteriors and more.
        Baiting the hook for “Shark Tank”
        “Our audition for the show was just as nerve-wracking as shooting the real thing in front of the Sharks, however, Kevin and I have put our hearts and souls into this company for good reason and we believed we’d make it through the casting process,” Pavlica said. “We have a ton of confidence in each other and what we’re doing and I think that helped us make it to pitch to the Sharks.
        “When we learned we were chosen to be on ‘Shark Tank,’ we kind of freaked out a bit,” he said. “So many companies have launched to success after being on the series. To think that we’d have that opportunity was unreal.           “The initial reaction didn’t last long, though, because we knew we needed to get to work and prepare. We don’t do anything halfway or leave any rock unturned. We knew we had to put everything into it. We needed to know our numbers inside and out… be prepared for any questions or curveballs the Sharks might throw our way,” he said.
        “No matter what happens, Kevin and I know we have something special and we’re not stopping,” Pavlica said.
        Locally “Shark Tank” airs on 13abc. The show draws millions of viewers each week, and among them, front-and -center in front of their TV on May 7, will be Pavlica’s parents, Sue and Mike, who live in Oak Harbor now.
        “His father and I are just are so proud of Chris, and everything he’s done,” Sue said.


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