Created: December 18, 2019 10:03 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and a local couple has invented a solution for those times when you need a little extra light, but don't have a free hand.
It grips. It clips. And it gives you light in those challenging places and situations. These attachable flashlights from TipSee Light Company are the brainchild of Steve and Tricia LaBuzetta.
Steve says he was inspired by a particularly frustrating winter task.
"I was filling gas in the garage, holding a flashlight in my teeth, holding both hands with the gas can, filling the snow blower. I was getting tired of that routine," Steve LaBuzetta said.
So he decided to design a flashlight that would clip to the nozzle of the gas can. And once he had a prototype, it quickly became evident that this product had lots of possible uses.
"People were saying, well, works great on a barbecue tool, or a walking cane," LaBuzetta said.
But inventing a product and running a company are two different challenges.
Steve owned an advertising photo studio, and Tricia was a theatre lighting designer. So they had a background in lighting.
"But making widget, no, not until we had this whole thing under way did we get into the world of manufacturing and selling retail and wholesale and , wow, it's been quite an education," LaBuzetta said.
Ten years after coming up with the idea, TipSee Light Company just came out with its third generation of attachable flashlights.
While the LED assembly is imported, they contract with a Churchville company to make the plastic molding and the flashlights are assembled in Rochester. They retail for about $10 and can be found in stores like Wegmans.
They are marketed and packaged differently for varying functions -- whether it's barbecuing, handy work, or for safety.
"They all have their benefits, but one of the big ones is putting them on a walking cane, just snaps on a cane, and so it just lives there and it's just a nice little handy light for anybody that uses a cane pretty much every night to go down a dark hallway or wherever," LaBuzetta said.
And LaBuzetta continues to come up with new twists on his invention… like a red light for hunters.
"It's a safety beacon for a hunter to be able to clip onto the barrel of his gun," LaBuzetta said. "So your other hunting buddies don't mistake you for something they want to shoot."
The LaBuzettas aren't sure where TipSee Light Company will take them. They admit they're sort of flying by the seat of their pants. Right now they're interested in making a good product and seeing the light to profitability.
"Do I want to be the flashlight king? No, I'm not really out to be that, but I would like it to be a product people appreciate and enjoy owning and that would be terrific," LaBuzetta said.
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