CARBONDALE — When Southern Illinois resident Dave Restivo was working as a ceiling fan salesman in the 1980s, he realized there was no convenient, effective way to clean a ceiling fan.
“I looked everywhere, and there just were no types of ceiling fan cleaning tools anywhere,” he said.
He developed his own design for a blade cleaning tool but held onto it for three decades. This year, a collaboration with Southern Illinois University’s design department has produced Blade Maid, available for $24 on Amazon.
Aaron Scott, an associate professor of design at SIU, and his students honed Restivo’s design, developed graphics and packaging, and found channels for manufacturing in China.
Restivo said Blade Maid, which features a telescoping handle and an antimicrobial chenille pad, is superior to other products because it holds the fan blade in place while it’s being cleaned.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a ceiling fan over a nice dining room table, over your bed … Blade Maid traps all the dust and dirt inside so you don’t have to have it falling anywhere and everywhere,” Restivo said.
The product also comes with a “flex duster” for cleaning hard-to-reach areas, such as the fan’s motor housing.
Restivo said he and Scott now have a network in place, both in the United States and Europe, to develop products quickly. They have established a company called CornerStone Marketing LLC, and they hope to work with other inventors in Southern Illinois.
“If there’s someone out there that has a product and they’re supposed to be getting a prototype made, they need somebody to help them get to the next level, that’s really what we’re here to do now,” Restivo said.
Scott said he hopes to help make Southern Illinois “a destination for design and development of concepts.”
“There’s no shortage of really good ideas down here, it’s just getting it to market. It’s getting it past these obstacles and these barriers that we were wrestling with,” Scott said. “One of the things that we have found is that there are ways of doing distribution, there are ways of getting the manufacturing, there are ways of being put in touch with venture capital or the funding. Without having gone through this type of experience, I don’t know that we would have figured these things out for ourselves.”
“I truly believe that there’s probably, in a 25-mile radius, maybe 5 to 10 million dollars’ worth of product ideas … but you just don’t know where to go, and you just don’t have the money,” Restivo said.