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  • 24 May 2017
  • Nicole Cox

Meet The UPS Store Pitch Off Winners

3 Cities. 150 Small Business Owners. 15,000 dollars.
Meet The UPS Store Local Pitch Off Competition Winners

By Nicole Cox

During the month of May, The UPS Store traveled across the country to recognize and celebrate small business owners with local events in Portland, Kansas City and Denver. At each event, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs were invited to enter the local Pitch Off Competition for a chance to win $5,000 to help grow their business. Approximately 150 entered and the competition was fierce but only three walked away with a $5,000 check. Meet the winners of the local The UPS Store Pitch Off Competition…

PORTLAND: Tessa Jetter of Wallflower Systems


What is Wallflower Systems?
The Wallflower Systems product line allows you to garden and grow in locations and in a manner you never had before. You can transform your everyday landscape into vertical gardens and living walls.

The products offer a simple and inexpensive option for those looking to change their landscape scenery without the hard labor and hefty bill. The wide range of styles and sizes allows gardeners to transform their plain wall, fences and decks into living art. Each Wallflower is completely removable and re-insertable with just a hammer. Our products are made from 100% USA steel with a rust preventive powder coating. A pre-punched hole in our products diversifies the options of use to include decks, fences, rails and posts. We expect to be in production by June 2017 and the product is slated to be available in July.

What is your local tie to Portland:
Wallflower Systems is located in Hillsboro, Ore., and our products will be manufactured in Donald, Ore. We want to do our part to support the Oregon economy. We live here, so it’s important to us to support our neighbors, increase jobs and help our local economy to grow.

Plans for the $5,000 from The UPS Store:
Wallflower Systems has been invited to the National Lawn and Garden Show in Chicago – the world’s largest lawn and garden show. We have been invited to attend the show and have been nominated for the New Product of the Year. We will have three days of scheduled meetings with buyers from all around the world. This trip is so important to launching our business and with this funding we can now make that happen.


KANSAS CITY: Theodore “Priest” Hughes of Rollin’ Grocer


What is Rollin’ Grocer?
Rollin’ Grocer is a mobile grocery store that provides affordable, fresh food to the local Kansas City community in areas that we consider “food deserts.” Our nearly 250 square-foot vehicle makes stops at various neighborhoods throughout Kansas City metro, selling fresh and affordable food a short walking distance away from people who need it. We’re not a convenience store or a food truck. You can come in and buy chicken, meat, orange juice, fresh fruits and vegetables, paper plates, napkins. We carry over 760 food products and serve up to 100 customers per day.

What’s your local tie to Kansas City?
I decided to start the business after seeing several grocery stores in my neighborhood close over the past decade. Purchasing fresh, affordable food has become increasingly difficult in east Kansas City, especially if you don’t have a car. This challenge is what inspired myself and my business partners, Natasha Ria El-Scari, Jessica Royer, and Jason Kelso, to create a mobile grocery store.

What are your plans for the $5,000 prize from The UPS Store:
With the prize money, Rollin’ Grocer plans to purchase more groceries to help even more Kansas City communities. They are dedicated to an evolving business that meets the changing needs of each neighborhood they enter. Integrity, respect for all cultures, religions and orientations are welcomed at the mobile grocery store.


DENVER: Lindsey Powers of ChairGLO, Inc.


What is ChairGLO?
At ChairGLO, we build products that meet the important needs of our wheelchair customers to improve their safety, socialization, and nighttime adventures. Our Wheelchair LED Lighting Systems illuminate the area underneath the wheelchair helping our customers SEE and BE SEEN while out at night. Each system is designed to be easy to install, lightweight, and extremely bright for long lasting use on any type of power, manual, and off-road wheelchair.

What is your local tie to Denver?
After deciding to launch ChairGLO, my business partner and I wanted to start the company in a city with a thriving startup scene. We visited Colorado and attended Denver Startup Week 2015. After visiting, we quickly realized there would be no better place to start our company than in the birthplace of the disability rights movement and one of the most accessible cities in the world: Denver, CO.

What are your plans for the $5,000 from The UPS Store?
We plan to use the funds to increase our manufacturing, decrease our costs, and pass those savings on to our customers who so desperately want and need the life enhancing features ChairGLO Systems provide.

While the local Pitch Off competitions have come to an end, you still have a chance to help other small business owners like Tessa, Theodore and Lindsey. Visit The UPS Store Pitch Off contest page and cast your vote to help one small business owner win $10,000 in our national competition. You only get one vote so make it count! Voting is open through May 31.

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