Tonawanda News — It all started with a walk on the beach.
Marcia Nachreiner was with her husband Michael, walking cautiously though the dark, moonless night. Trying to hold a flash light, a drink and her husband’s arm all at the same time, she wondered whether there wasn’t a better way to take a romantic beachfront stroll.
The next weekend, during a family trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, her son, David, a soldier newly returned from Iraq, admired some star-shaped strands of lights in a holiday store. His father immediately purchased an armload of the lights simply because David liked them. When the family returned home, they darkened the house and switched on the twinkling stars.
“Sitting there in the dark, a light went on in my head,” Marcia recalled. “I placed one of the beautiful star-shaped lights between my toes and at that moment the Beach Bright Flip Flop was born.”
The idea kept her up at night and she pretty quickly consulted with the two engineers in her family. Her niece, Brandi Golimowski, and her brother, Joe Simon, helped her design a flip flop with a lighted medallion that could survive the elements at the beach. The flower-shaped medallions are now being sold with the flip flops or separately.
As a North Tonawanda resident, Marcia was able to get help from the Lumber City Development Corp., which provided her with a state-funded start-up grant, as well as some small business training and other support. A spokesman for Lumber City said her business was exactly the kind they wanted to assist.
“We’re always interested in creating opportunities for new products,” said Michael Zimmermann, planning and development coordinator for Lumber City. “The final decision (to give her the grant) was not just that she had a good idea but that she had a sound plan to make a successful business.”