SOMERS, N.Y. Kim Maguire used to send her daughter, Shannon, to school every day with juice mixed with nectar in a hard plastic container. Shannon, now 18, who is autistic and has Down syndrome, would often return home with the container either cracked or smelling from liquid residue.
About five years ago, a friend, Eileen Walker, came up with an idea for a disposable beverage bag that Shannon or anybody else could carry with them, and the rest is history.
"It's really a unique product," Maguire said of Bevi Bags , which are similar to Ziploc bags but feature a seal that the U.S. Navy uses for underwater missions. "Our product relies on that seal. It's a phenomenal seal."
In the developing stages for five years, Bevi Bags (a name that evolved from "beverages") have been available online since early 2011, but Maguire and Walker are hoping to make the product available to more people in stores.
Bevi Bags are among about 4,000 products that are part of an online contest organized by Walmart in which the product with the most votes will be sold in stores. The contest ends Tuesday, April 3.
"It would be an awesome opportunity," said Maguire, a lifelong Somers resident. "It's worth the effort, and we're really trying by word of mouth and social media. We got the product to where we want it to be, and people are very positive about it."
The 11-ounce Bevi Bags, which stand up, range in price from $6.95 for 25 bags to $27.20 for 100 bags.
"It's definitely gaining momentum. We have a lot of repeat customers," Maguire said.
If Bevi Bags don't win the Walmart contest, Maguire said, Plan B is a contest being run by QVC.
"It was a lot of work to get this whole thing going," Maguire said of getting a patent for Bevi Bags and a company interested in listening to two novice inventors. "We made a lot of calls. We were persistent. We would really love to get them into stores and sell them."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.