A Long Long Long time ago, well actually only four months ago, I took Elizabeth to Key West to celebrate her birthday during the first week of March (2018). During the week there, we spent a lot of time at the waterfront area and three days into our trip we happened upon the "Turtle Museum". Having done Turtle rescue on Cape Cod, Ma, we were immediately drawn to this Museum...…..Upon entering the Museum we found a man sitting at the entrance desk...….My North East Industrialist attitude & judgement of this man went wild......I see this man with long hair, Shorts, T-Shirt, Flip Flops and I think to myself....."Woodstock, cut your hair & get a Job" ...These were inside thoughts. Did I really expect someone to be in a suit & tie, this was Key West after all. He greeted us with a warm & friendly smile, a handshake and began to offer the friendly atmosphere that we had come to love over the 1st three days of our trip. His name is Ralph Capone and is President of the Key West Sea Turtle Club.
We started a conversation about turtles which quickly lead into the topic of "The Issue with Plastics & Especially Plastic Straws". We were immediately overwhelmed with his knowledge of the problem and very quickly realized just how naive we were about the topic. The quick two-minute conversation I expected went into a 45-minute learning period which we took in with a thirst that one has for a cold drink in Key West on a hot day. One item Ralph mentioned that stuck in my mind was his concern that there were NO real solutions on the market for the Plastic Straw Issue. After totally enjoying our time with Ralph, Elizabeth & I continued our way along the waterfront.
Hours later while we were sitting waterside having dinner, my 37 years of industrial manufacturing experience was turning wheels in my mind about Ralph's conversation with the Plastic Straw issue...….BAM.....It hit me so fast I had trouble explaining my idea to Elizabeth.....I excused myself from the table and ran to the Turtle Museum to find Ralph....The Museum was now closed and Ralph was gone. I looked for a sign with a phone number or email address, nothing...I was frantic with this idea...…. I had to find him and find him now. I returned to Elizabeth at the restaurant and talked more about the idea...for the rest of the night that's all I could think of and talk about. Later that evening I was able to find online contact info, but that was not good enough...…. I needed to contact him now. After a restless night sleep, we went out the next morning and found ourselves down by the waterfront again...…. finally, I was able to meet up with Ralph and after 3 minutes of conversation, the Sea-Straw was born.... Ralph & I connected and we were in business. Elizabeth has and continues to play the most important role with checking my work and my views. It's so easy to stray off course without the help of someone like Elizabeth.
The rest of our vacation was mentally filled with this new adventure. Upon arriving home in New York, I got started immediately. I designed, I called manufacturing people I knew in the business, I started speaking with Ralph daily. Within two weeks I had proto-type product being quoted and fabrication began. During the first two weeks of contact with Ralph, we were finally introduced to Ralph's wife, Denise......although we have not had the pleasure of meeting her yet, she quickly became an intricate part of the business and our foursome, Denise & Ralph, Elizabeth & Bill, were off chasing the American Dream....
Our excitement continues to grow daily. We know we have something special. Our progress has led to being Incorporated and an exciting New Web Site. We have four reps already on board and they are just as excited as we are. Noting a special call out to Gale & Stephanie who have brought in the first sale and bragging rights.
So here we are...…. Bill Marshall, the fast-paced Northern Industrialist teaming up with Ralph Capone, the Southern Laid-Back Cool Cat in Key West....we have already talked about a reality show. The Odd Couple, Cheech & Chong, the funny list goes on & on.....We are so set on our adventure being successful that our relationship has become a lasting friendship.....I have only met Ralph twice, Elizabeth has only met him once, we still have not met Denise (as of this writing 7/22/18)…..but we do talk on the phone every day & in most cases numerous times a day......It's a pleasure when work can be considered fun. In addition to our new adventure, I still work at my job of 37 years with app 50-60 hours a week. Elizabeth who watches 2 grand-children all week and still takes the time to run her business Lizbets Inc ( see www.lizbets.com). Denise is the manager of a large retail store in Key West with a roster of employees under her direction. After a conversation with Ralph, I know she is putting in a 50+ hour work week. That leaves us Ralph....besides the 12 rescue birds he has at home along with his Bulldog named Cupcake, Ralph works Part Time at the Turtle Museum during the season “Talking Turtles”! He speaks passionately about the history of turtling in Key West and the monumental changes that have occurred since the Environmental Species Act was passed in 1973. Ralph also holds the permit for nesting sea turtle activities in Key West. Under his leadership, the Key West Sea Turtle Club is comprised of 23 permitted members and 20+ additional volunteers. The club is responsible for walking Smathers, Higgs and Nature Beach each morning, during nesting season, identifying tracks, confirming nests, identifying nesting species and nest inventories. Ralph and his club also organize beach cleanups and participate in community events, like the Kids Show, that help educate and encourage Key West residents to be stewards of the environment ...…...My point here is that all four of us have extremely busy lives and because we believe in this new product, The Sea-Straw, we have no problem finding the time needed for this new adventure.
We look forward to being of service to all our future customers...…. God Bless.