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Flying off the shelves

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:00 pm

As dusk settles in, slowly giving way to the night, you stroll through a cool, quiet Lodi park. Suddenly, without warning, a glowing object flies past your head. Then, what seems to be an other-worldly orb comes at you!

Relax. It's probably just the Glow and Throw UFO Flying Disc created by Lodi native Bryan Stamos.

Back in the '90s, Stamos had the idea to attach glow-sticks, originally used by the U.S. military, to a child's flying disc toy. The finished product was a customizable flyer that took on the appearance of various shapes when in flight.

He patented the idea, but because of a lack of funds to pursue the project, it sat on the shelf.

In October of 2007, Stamos' lawyer contacted him to let him know the maintenance fees on the patent were coming due. This time, he decided to make the most of his creation.

Stamos researched glowstick manufacturers on the Internet. After checking into many different companies, he finally found a reputable and reliable China-based producer.

The order was placed and soon 10,000 Glow and Throw UFOs landed on Stamos' doorstep. The shipment arrived in time for Stamos to attend a Pomona trade show and display the toy. He picked up three sales representatives who loved the idea and have sold it in 15 states. Since then, he's procured the services of more reps and sales in 29 more states. But all that was easier than getting onto the mother ship: Wal-Mart.


The Glow and Throw UFO Flying Disc. (Brian Feulner/News-Sentinel)

The eager entrepreneur that he is, Stamos decided that the mega-chain would be a good outlet to sell the glow-in-the dark toy.

"It took five months. I had to give presentations for five store managers, and then another one for the district manager," Stamos said. After those first contacts and approval of all six managers, Stamos had to send a vendor packet and the product itself to Wal-Mart's corporate office and patiently await final approval.

Final approval came and Stamos started making deliveries. There are 12 Wal-mart stores in the local district, including stores in Lodi, Stockton, Manteca, Tracy, Modesto, Elk Grove and Sacramento.

In that time, Stamos' sales reps have sold the spinning saucer throughout the nation to specialty and novelty stores, and it can even be purchased online. Stamos has sites like www.thinkgeek.com, www.burningman.com and www. thespacestore.com selling the toy.

How to get your own Glow and Throw UFO

The Glow and Throw UFO Flying Disc is available at 12 area Wal-Mart stores from Modesto to Sacramento.

To purchase the toy online (or see a video of it in action) visit: www.glowandthrowufo.com or www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEylLMuw1d0.

"It's not an expensive product. Even though the economy is slow, people are still looking for gifts and gadgets," Stamos said. The Glow and Throw disc can be purchased online for $10.95, though Stamos said retailers such as Wal-Mart typically sell it for $5.95 to $8.95 with replacement glow stick packs retailing for about $4.

Stamos also pointed out that it's the only flying, glow-in-the-dark toy on the market that can be customized. Plus, he said, the glow sticks can be worn like a bracelet or necklace.

As Stamos began test marketing the invention on eBay.com, the tagline for the product came through the comment of a site visitor who really liked the toy:

"Some guy said, 'Cool alien technology, dude,'" Stamos said.

Contact Business Editor Marc Lutz at marcl@lodinews.com.

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16 comments:

  • posted at 2:50 am on Sat, Aug 2, 2008.

    Posts:

    Cogito meant to be cognito,but when the application was done with the error, he just decided to keep cogito, you were not meant to know him/her; I doubt you will be getting a meeting

     
  • posted at 6:56 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Oh, one more thing. Cogito, you say that you have know me for years. Well, who are you? I have never known anyone named Cogito. So are you willing to reveal who you are or will we need a secret closed session meeting for that?

     
  • posted at 6:51 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Or you can just copy this link and watch it in flight! http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1277162/glow_and_throw_ufo_lighted_flying_disc/

     
  • posted at 6:44 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Thanks for all the congrats and well wishing. Each evening occassion one will only need to use 3 or 4 glow lights to create the various flying shapes and colors light displays. This allows for 4 to 5 nights of evening fun and of course the disc can be thrown indefinately during daylight hours. Replacement lights are available in assorted colors. To watch the 'Glow and Throw UFO' in flight go to the website and watch the video at the bottom of the page. www.glowandthrowufo.com l0ll0vel0di <--- Glad you enjoyed the 'Glow and Throw UFO'

     
  • posted at 6:02 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    My 13 yr old son and I played with a UFO Flying Disc...it was alot of fun. I was better at throwing it. My son probably threw it over my head on purpose to make me run to catch it. As for how long the glow sticks last...they lasted HOURS longer then we played! I wish I could run and play til the glow is gone. Sunset to sunrise!

     
  • posted at 4:29 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Okay. I did Google and find the actual website for the product (http://www.glowandthrowufo.com/). I'm surprised that it wasn't included in the article. It does list replacement glow sticks (14 of a variety of colors and in various combinations for $4.95 for each pack).Interesting.

     
  • posted at 4:17 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    G, these glow sticks have the same duration as past glow sticks. Not as long as you'd like, but a lot longer, and less expensive, than fireworks.

     
  • posted at 4:11 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    While I congratulate anyone for breaking through with a unique invention in our ever-increasing competitive market, I do have a few questions about this specific item.Just how long do these 'glow sticks' remain illuminated before they are ineffective? My experience with these types of devices (sold at fairs, carnivals, circuses, etc.) is that they only last for a few hours. While I searched for the toy on the ThinkGeek and BurningMan websites (using its official name (Glow and Throw UFO Flying Disc) as well as the tagline (Cool Alien Technology)) and came up empty, I did find it listed on the SpaceStore page selling for $10.95. It doesn't mention the longevity of the glow stick devices nor does it advertise replacement sticks once they do wear out. Could these be re-chargeable glow sticks? I haven't heard of such a thing in relation to other like products, so I am interested in learning.Any thoughts?

     
  • posted at 2:10 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Congrats to Bry! Anyone who achieves success with a long-strived for project deserves a pat on the back. Capitalists RULE!!!!Just have to put a little damper on the whole thing though - Mr. anti-New-World-Order placed the order for his product with a CHINESE producer... BRY...shame on you! And just after writing a scathing letter about immigrants storming our borders. Guess $$ wins out every time.

     
  • posted at 12:12 pm on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    bry, great story and great invention.Best luck to you.

     
  • posted at 6:05 am on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    UFo's huh? That explains some of the posters here doesn't it.

     
  • posted at 4:45 am on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Then I know you must be Cool too Cog..this is such a red-letter day for Bry and his family...HERE'S TO.WISHING HIM MUCH SUCCESS!!!

     
  • posted at 4:33 am on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Cc, I have known Bryan for years and are familiar with his talents. I have seen his comedy routine and found it quite good. That's why I said what I said. I love his eye witness/ man on the street routine, it's hysterical!

     
  • posted at 3:57 am on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Cogito, little do u know that comedy is one of Bryan's sidelines, he has a multitude of attributes and knowing him for many years, we appreciate his humor and talents...be slow to judge others and we appreciate your right to free speech and your humor also.

     
  • posted at 3:24 am on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Bryan, man, you still got those things laying around your house? Best of luck in getting it going. When you're a toy tycoon, I can say "I knew him when". Maybe you can quit work and pursue that comedy career.

     
  • posted at 2:52 am on Fri, Aug 1, 2008.

    Posts:

    Bryan:You are so gifted, congrats on doing all the right things to get this product going and available for all ages. You did all the safety checks and worked hard and invested alot...Lodi should be proud to have another entrepreneur.

     

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