WICHITA — The Shockers’ season may be over, but an incident that happened during one of the games has inspired an invention that is in the test phase and soon will go national.
A few weeks ago, Charlie’s PizzaTaco co-owner Tim Holmes says he observed a dilemma a customer was having in his restaurant near Central and Tyler.
“One day there was a young man watching the Wichita State game, and he was obviously fighting with his girlfriend via text message.”
Holmes says the customer’s phone was about to die, but he didn’t want to leave the restaurant. Nor did he want to further upset his girlfriend.
“He was kind of torn,” Holmes says. “So he asked me, ‘Do you have a charger that I could borrow?’”
Holmes thought it would a great idea to have a charger at every table so no customer ever has to choose between lingering over a meal and leaving in order to charge a phone.
His partner, David Hoffman, happens to own a company that manufactures cellphone batteries and sells accessories for phones to retailers nationally.
Hoffman says his company is building a prototype and has some temporary devices at Charlie’s.
“I said, ‘Just put these out there, and get a reaction for me,’” Hoffman says.
“Basically what we’re doing right now is just testing the theory out,” Holmes says.
He says the device is a simple battery pack, which makes it portable.
“You don’t have to rewire your entire restaurant to do this project,” Holmes says.
There are three plugs in one charger for iPhones and Droids. The devices are attached to napkin holders.
The prototype batteries will be enclosed to prevent theft.
“Since I put them in, people just use the heck out of ’em,” Holmes says.