ds could make them revenue generators
Sylvain Bourdeau had his Eureka! moment when he spotted the ground littered with cigarette butts outside a Boucher-ville bar on the eve of Quebec’s ban on smoking in
public places. “It hit me like a flash what people do with
their cigarette butts,” Bourdeau said yesterday, recalling his May 30 epiphany.
The image also reminded him of Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay’s pledge to clear city streets and sidewalks of unsightly cigarette butts.
Marcel Tremblay, the mayor’s brother and city councillor in charge of the clean-up program, referred to a billion butts discarded in public yearly. “I had a vision and two days later, I got to work on it,” Bourdeau said of his subsequent invention – the patent-pending I Kkwit Ashtray Tower.
Bourdeau, an Ecole des hautes etudes commerciales marketing graduate, said he added the second K to the name because a search found that the word “kwit” was already taken for another product.
“Besides, the letter K has strong business association to companies like Kodak and Kellogg’s,” he added. The St. Jean-sur-Richelieu entrepreneur – he and his father, Jerome, started up Jer-B-Syl Inc. and the younger Bourdeau continues to operate the manufacturer of polyethylene baskets and trays for fruits and vegetables – spent $1,200 on a prototype of the 1.4-metre-tall ashtray.
Bourdeau is marketing the aluminum ashtray to three levels of government (350 Quebec municipalities alone), bars, restaurants, hospitals and companies. The price, a few hundred dollars each depending on the quantity bought,
includes installation, a choice of 400 colours and a 10-year guarantee even though Bourdeau suggests the ashtray will last at least 25 years without rusting.
Twenty-five are now being built on order at a subcontracted hometown company he said is capable of producing 50 to 100 a week.
The plan is also to rent the ashtrays for events and eventually sell advertising on them, making them revenue-generating. Bourdeau claims he refused an offer of $250,000 last week for 30 per cent of the company “because I think my business will be worth a lot more than that
He said he also turned down a potential partner who wanted to have the ashtrays made cheaply in China.
“I insist in staying in Quebec,” Bourdeau said. “I’m already creating local jobs with this project and I’d like to see something made in Quebec that will eventually be exported worldwide.”
Although he hasn’t yet officially contacted them, Bourdeau wants to donate $10 from the sale of each ashtray to the Canadian Cancer Society.
For more information: 514-823-7919.