For 16 years, Arlington Heights-based Digital Innovations LLC has survived the dot-com bust, the Great Recession, and massive changes in the technology industry along with consumer whims.
It all began with Skip Dr., a disc repair system that gathered steam when that technology was fresh. But that technology is waning and the company sought something fresh that would solve a consumer issue.
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About two weeks ago, the company launched The Nest, a small device that keeps the cord on your earbuds from getting tangled or damaged. It seemed like a natural product to make, considering the number of times you may use your earbuds and pack them away, said CEO Collin Anderson.
"Some people in our industry go to all the trade shows and just copy each other, and we didn't want to do that," Anderson said. "We wanted to spend more time with consumers and know what bothers them and get a solution for them."
That led Anderson to visit Tony Abfall, an engineer who lives in Mount Prospect. Anderson challenged him to solve the earbud problem, make it easy to use, easy on the budget, comfortable to pack in your pocket, and cost under $10.
They liked the prototype and asked an Elmhurst manufacturer to produce the device, which went on sale about two weeks ago online at various websites and soon may go on walmart.com, Anderson said.
Plus, they intend to keep making it in the United States, not overseas, Anderson said.
Anderson, who also helped to co-found the company with Joe Born, said he also believes the U.S.-made products provide good quality and make a clear statement on where the company stands.
"We are going to try to initiate production of products in the U.S. as much as we can," Anderson said.
Surfing: Arlington Heights-based Restaurant.com has partnered with Cash Mobs founder Andrew Samtoy to launch Dine Local Dish Mobs, a national event encouraging restaurant goers to dine at local, independently owned restaurants. From Sept. 24 through Oct. 7, Restaurant.com and Samtoy will encourage people to eat at local establishments and they will host five designated Dish Mobs events in Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Denver.
• Hoffman Estates-based Kmart said it has removed its layaway service fees for both online and in-store products now through Nov. 17.
• Chicago-based U.S. Cellular now has the 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Note II available for pre-order at uscellular.com/note2, and it will be in stores and online in late October. The 16GB titanium gray Galaxy Note II will be $299.99 with an instant rebate for those who purchase during the online presale. It will be $299.99 after the $100 mail-in rebate when it arrives in stores. T-Mobile also features the Galaxy Note II, the network's first smartphone to be powered by a quad-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
• Speaking of T-Mobile, the mobile provider will have the new Windows Phone 8X by HTC. It a 4.3-inch LCD HD screen and a dual-core processor. Information can be found at T-Mobile.com. A spokesman declined to discuss price.
•Chicago-based BitBend.com will launch a Beta version Nov. 1, but you can visit now at www.BitBend.com. The new site, from co-founders Heidi and Rob Brown of Oak Park, is expected to hold your flight for $5 for days or weeks while you finalize the rest of your travel plans. There is no monthly or annual cost. The consumer is buying a so-called price and availability guarantee only. If you buy the bend and decide to purchase the ticket 7 days later, the price will remain the same for the flight you chose. If, 7 days later, you decide you can't go on the trip, you don't have to pay anything but you lose the $5 investment in the bend, a spokeswoman said.
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