business

"Germaphobe" creates disposable covers for remote controls

The plastic sheath invented by a Pennsylvania physician is marketed to hotel chains as well as individuals.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted April 25, 2011

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Making sidelines pay

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Doctors who branched out beyond running their practice tell why they did it, how they did it, and what you should know before you do it.
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Name: Scott Goldstein, DO

Specialty: Emergency medicine

Location: Hershey, Pa.

Company: My Remote Coat (link). The company sells disposable covers for shared remote controls, such as those in hotel rooms.

Annual revenue: The product launched in March, so no numbers are available.

Why he started the business: Dr. Goldstein is a self-described "germaphobe" who has seen media reports on how dirty hotel rooms can be. He realized that the one thing in a hotel room everyone touches -- but is almost never cleaned -- is the television remote control.

"If you put water on a remote control, you will destroy it," Dr. Goldstein said. "You can't clean it."

So he invented the "Remote Coat," a disposable cover secured with a drawstring, and commissioned a company to manufacture it. He ordered about 1,000 but is holding off on having more made.

He is marketing the Remote Coat though his website and social media accounts. His next step is to display it at trade shows.

"It's hard to sell a product when I'm a full-time emergency department physician," he said. "I'm busy enough, but I feel there's a need for it."

He sells the product to individuals but hopes to sell it to large hotel chains, which would provide them to guests.

Why he continues to practice: "This is how I make my daily bread and butter, and there's certain aspects of my job that I love. I love hospital medicine. I do love saving lives. I love the excitement of it all."

Words of wisdom: "Don't invest too much early on. Only invest what you feel you can."

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