GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A mid-Michigan family is shaking up the movie theater popcorn scene.
Justin Kovitz, 22, a Mount Pleasant college student, and his father, Ray Kovitz, have spent the past year developing and selling a plastic lid that snaps over the rim of the ubiquitous popcorn bucket. With a few shakes, moviegoers can then evenly distribute butter or toppings over their popcorn. The lid also serves as a bowl or snaps on to take home uneaten popcorn. They call it Shake N' Share, according to The Grand Rapids Press.
The lid is made at Display Pack in Grand Rapids. The Kovitzs have sold about 220,000 units and have invested more than $150,000 in the venture, which they say projects to hit 1 million units sold by the end of the year.
They don't plan to stop with movie theaters. They are negotiating with distributors to have the lids in sports facilities and other venues.
"If it wasn't for Justin, there wouldn't be any of this," Ray Kovitz told the newspaper. "Sometimes you just have to go for it, and that's what he did."
His son got the idea last November at a theater in Mount Pleasant. As the Central Michigan University business student watched patrons fumble and spill popcorn, the lid idea dawned him.
"It just clicked in my head," said the younger Kovitz, who then took the idea to his father.
Ray Kovitz, a manufacturers' representative in the chemical and coating business, said he's been pitched many ideas but this was different.
"Most of the time when they come to you with ideas, it's either already been done before or it's something I don't understand, like an app," he said. "This one kind of rang true. It sounded like something that should be done."
They applied for design and utility patents, and settled on Display Pack, a family-owned packaging company, as the manufacturer.
In April, an industry writer for the Las Vegas Weekly covering CinemaCon, the annual trade show for the National Association of Theater Owners, called Shake N' Share the "kind of basic, convenient advancement that movie theaters should embrace."
The lid is now available at theaters in Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, California and Washington.