The Joint Heat electric heating pouch is a multiple-use, one-size-fits-all, custom-designed heating unit that hits all 6 major body joints. It can be used for moist or dry heat and secures cold packs to aching joints.
THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL of Memphis
Front Page / Business Section
THAT'S A WRAP
A. J. Wolfe/The Commercial Appeal
Memphis, TN - For years, Bill Lewis' shoulder problems got worse.
About three years ago, he paid $65 for a heating pad but complained to his son Daniel that it didn't help much because he couldn't hold it in place.
"I took it apart, looked at the wiring, found it would not be too difficult to manipulate, then I restiched it," said Daniel Lewis, 24, who likes to work on inventions.
He found some Velcro around the house and fashioned it into a strap and let his father use it.
It not only worked on Bill Lewis' shoulder, but also on his knee and elbow. So, the father-and-son team, who moved to Jacksonville, Fla, from Memphis 14 years ago, set about to get the invention on the market.
And it is in one location - Walgreens at 3381 Poplar in Memphis.
"We wanted to do one store because of the costs,"said Bill Lewis, who is handling the marketing for the device, known as the Heating Pouch.
Memphis was a logical choice because Lewis knows the area - he lived here for more than 30 years - and because he thought the climate wouldn't sway sales.
"The Walgreens on the western edge of East Memphis offers an economically diverse area - from students at the University of Memphis to the affluent in Chickasaw Gardens to middle income areas to the north," he said.
"And there are several projects for retirees and older people, prime customers for heating pads," said Darren Arnoult, store manager, who added he likes to devote shelf space to local products.
Those who have tested the device, at Lewis' request, praise it.
"You can conform it to many joints - shoulder, knee, hip, ankle - and get a more even heat dispersal for the area," said Dr. Mary Soha, a pediatrician who practices pediatric sports medicine in Jacksonville.
Soha's patients have been using the Heating Pouch for three months and find them more comfortable than standard heating pads, she said.
"If that's so, they're more likely to use them." Soha said.
"I've used it so much there's not much left of the fabric," said Jan Holderman of Memphis, who has tested the pad for more than a year.
With bursitis in her shoulder and two arthritic knees, she puts the Heating Pouch on while she sleeps. [Not recommended.] She even rolls it into a ball and puts it under her neck at night. [Also not recommended.]
"A heating pad, short of using nine miles of duct tape, you can't keep it in place," Holderman said. "Even thermal wraps, you have to deal with tapes and the Heating Pouch won't slide."
Meanwhile, Arnoult and Lewis will watch sales at the Walgreens store. If they're good, Arnoult said he will take the product to his district manager to get approval for its sale in other stores in Memphis.
By David Flaum
NOTE: Walgreens sold out of the Heating Pouch by 10am on the morning this article was published. They ordered a restock that was completed by 11:30am, which was sold within 15 minutes. The store manager stated that he had never seen anything like it in his 17 years with Walgreen. The store accumulated four pages of names and phone numbers of disappointed customers who had come to the store to purchase the Heating Pouch.