Monday, April 30, 2007

Ikan PRICE BREAK -- MUST Read! :-)

If you read the introduction to this blog (please do if you haven't, scroll down or click HERE:) I promised user profiles and news items about how we're getting power wheelchair users back in the game of life. We're trying to get the word out on our products every way possible. We also have a message board on our website. I recently wrote a post called "Price Break -- MUST Read!" which I MUST share here:)...

Hello all! :-)

First off, please know that our products are very well made and cost us quite a bit to manufacture. If I shared the exact details, every experienced businessperson would say our retail prices have been very fair to our customers. However, we truly want as many people as possible to experience the benefits of our products (contact us, we'll try to get your local bowling center to buy an IKAN Bowler or two; also keep in mind that most states have financial assistance available -- one customer only had to pay the shipping cost for an IKAN Bowler -- the state paid the rest, seriously, contact us for details). :-)

To give customers a break below retail, those of you who have followed our progress, you may remember we recently had a program called the "IKAN User Reward and Give Back Program." Essentially, what this did was Reward IKAN Users who were responsible for a sale with 10% commission, and we also were Giving Back 5% to resource organizations (like the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation or the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis) or rehab facilities (like Shepherd Center or Craig Hospital) of the purchaser's choice.

Our potential customers liked the Program but since we were essentially giving back 15% of each sale, why not just drop all prices by 15%? Then purchasers can keep or distribute a portion of the savings, if they wish, plus more people will be able to afford their own.

We debated this for several reasons. With the Program, resource organizations and rehab facilities (like those mentioned above) had a direct reason to advertise our products in their newsletters and on their websites, etc., which would help us reach more wheelchair users and it didn't require an up-front advertising fee (just the 5% Give Back). We (MGT) are a small company funded mostly by the three co-founders (who all have physical disabilities) and our friends and families. We don't have much of an advertising budget. The Program basically allotted 5% and 10% to different sources, which served as incentive to advertise and tell people about our products. That WAS the bulk of our advertising budget.

However, with some relatively innovative Internet marketing programs, we noticed we're getting quite a few hits on our website daily. Plus, we will continue to show resource organizations and rehab facilities how their customers can benefit from our products, and hopefully we can get feature stories in each. So, we have decided to give a full 15% to each and every purchaser directly, by dropping all prices by 15%. :-)

But wait... there's more! Sorry to sound like a cheesy infomercial, but we're actually dropping the price of our primary product, the IKAN Bowler with Universal Mount, MORE than 15%. As always, shipping to the continental U.S. is included in all prices (we can ship anywhere in the world, call us for a quote). The IKAN Bowler with Universal Mount was $719.00. Taking exactly 15% off that price (which actually reduces shipping by 15%, even though our shipping costs remain the same) the IKAN Bowler with Universal Mount would be $611.15. We decided we wanted it to be under the psychological barrier of $600. Also, for all residents outside of the state of Florida, there is no sales tax (being a Florida-based company, Florida residents must pay state sales tax). The IKAN Bowler with Universal Mount, shipping included, no tax outside of Florida, is now $599.00 (I know, that's real close to $600 but, come on, we're going more than 15% below a very fair original retail price and we can't provide products if we go out of business!). :-)

Here are the exact price changes of all products:

IKAN Universal Mount
Was $342.00... NOW $290.70 (Includes S/H*)
(Buy a Combo Package and Save!)

IKAN Bowler® (Arm)
Was $409.00... NOW $347.65 (Includes S/H*)
(Buy a Combo Package and Save!)

IKAN Soccer Guard, SG-1004
Was $202.00... NOW $171.70 (Includes S/H*)
(Buy a Combo Package and Save!)

Combination "A" BUM-1005
Includes Universal Mount and IKAN Bowler®.
Was $719.00... NOW $599.00 (Includes S/H*)
(Save $39.35 off the individual component totals!*)

Combination “C” SGUM-1007
Includes Universal Mount and IKAN Soccer Guard.
Was $512.00... NOW $435.20 (Includes S/H*)
(Save $27.20 off the individual component totals!*)

Combination “E” UMBSG-1009
Includes Universal Mount, IKAN Bowler®, and IKAN Soccer Guard.
Was $889.00... NOW $755.65 (Includes S/H*)
(Save $54.40 off the individual component totals!*)

Combination “G” SGUM4X-1011
Includes 4 Universal Mounts and 4 IKAN Soccer Guards.
Was $1,896.00... NOW $1,611.60 (Includes S/H*)
(Save $129.20 over the Combination “C” price!*)

Combination “H” SGUM8X-1012
Includes 8 Universal Mounts and 8 IKAN Soccer Guards.
Was $3,792.00... NOW $3,223.20 (Includes S/H*)
(Save $258.40 over the Combination “C” price!*)

*Shipping & handling included to continental U.S., contact us for quote to ship elsewhere.

If you look at our store, you'll see additional offerings that have the Center-Post Mount instead of the Universal Mount. That is a custom mount for certain new styles of wheelchair that utilize a single center-post style legrest setup, instead of the traditional two side legrests. Because it's custom to each chair, we ask people to call us for a quote.


I may have shared more information above (about our business) than perhaps I should have. But these are things I would tell my fellow wheelchair users face-to-face so they know we're truly trying to help as many people as possible. I'm sitting on a $400 seat cushion (so are most wheelchair users). While the cushion is an absolute necessity, I promise you the IKAN Bowler at $599 will provide more meaningful experiences and memories. Get maximum value out of that cushion and get back in the game of life -- bowling and power soccer are sports available to virtually all power wheelchair users. The benefits are fun, social, therapeutic, competitive, and recreational for users -- and inspirational to able-bodied folk who see us performing. :-)


Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 202 High Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:
Personal website:
emPOWERing Wheelchair Users

Introduction -- emPOWERing Wheelchair Users! :-)

Welcome to my blog! :-)

I'll cut to the chase -- this blog will illuminate how power wheelchair users are getting back in the game of life.

I'm one such power wheelchair user.

My name is Bill Miller; I'm a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury incurred August 23rd, 1997. I'm diagnosed as a C1-2 (complete) quadriplegic -- and I have a legitimate 202 high bowling game.

Several years ago, I wanted to get back in the game of life, but there really was no way, no sport or recreational endeavor that I could actively participate in. But I can operate my power wheelchair independently (with my mouth) via what's called a sip-and-puff system (I'm paralyzed from the neck down). My Stepmom saw how well I could drive my wheelchair, and absolutely knew there must be some way that I could bowl, using my chair.

She eventually got me together with a retired engineer named Claude Giguere (pronounced: G-gair). The two of us got together and invented a really cool way for me to bowl, and if someone who is completely paralyzed from the neck down (like me) can bowl -- shouldn't virtually any wheelchair user also be able to bowl?

That idea -- and the genuine desire to improve the quality of life for people whose bodies require them to use power wheelchairs -- is now embodied in a company called Manufacturing Genuine Thrills, Inc. doing business as MGT (for short). That first strike is a genuine thrill. The name for the bowling device comes from a Greek word, ikano, meaning enable. What enables me and can enable virtually all power wheelchair users to bowl is the IKAN Bowler®.

Wheelchair users: IKAN? Yes You Can! :-)

When developing the IKAN Bowler (which really started back in 2003) another sport for power wheelchair users was starting to blossom -- power soccer -- which is already pretty popular. But after doing some research, we learned from power soccer players that the only commercial soccer guard (a 3-sided shield that protects the user's legs and enables him or her to push an extra-large soccer ball) available, that using it occasionally resulted in damage to their wheelchairs (it used a single clamp to attach the guard to one of the user's legrests, and while there aren't supposed to be any collisions playing power soccer, if one did occur, sometimes the legrest would break off from the wheelchair).

In developing the IKAN Bowler, by far the most challenging aspect was developing an easy, quality mounting system that could fit multiple styles of wheelchair. We developed (and have a patent pending on) a Universal Mount that will work on every wheelchair with two side legrests (not power-elevating legrests, users with those can get a set of standard legrests to use for bowling/soccer; we also have a mount that accommodates chairs with the new center-post style legrests). So we developed the IKAN Soccer Guard to work with our Universal Mount (it also works with the center-post mount). The quality two-clamp system is able to withstand any reasonable collision. We repeatedly rammed a brick wall with the IKAN Soccer Guard and Universal Mount attached to a manual wheelchair (used for testing purposes) and we couldn't break the guard or the legrests. True story. (The center-post style is even more crash resistant.)

The beauty of our mounts is that with the IKAN Bowler attachment and the IKAN Soccer Guard attachment, people can do two sports (not at the same time, of course:). We're quite proud to be able to offer the ability to play two sports to people with significant physical disabilities that require the use of power wheelchairs -- including people with Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, Spinal Cord Injuries, Quadriplegia, Multiple Sclerosis and more.

Medical experts and IKAN Users have said using our products is fun, social, therapeutic, competitive, and recreational.

The world record holder for bowling by a quadriplegic is Jon Musgrave, a C4-5 quad due to a spinal cord injury in 1991. Jon bowls anywhere from 3-5 days a week, and bowled an amazing 243. He said: "Who could have thought that one thing could change a person's life so much. I have something that I'm good at to look forward to enjoying every day; something I can share with my family and fiends. I can tell you this for sure, my life has not been the same since I got my IKAN Bowler®."

That's how we're getting power wheelchair users back in the game of life.

With this blog, I plan to tell you more about Jon, and others like Jon. I want to profile people who think life is better with the IKAN Bowler. I'll bring some IKAN Soccer Guard news here also, but our primary product is the IKAN Bowler. There is no other assistive bowling device that enables users to mimic the able-bodied bowling process, i.e. setup, begin the approach and release the ball upon reaching the foul line.

The IKAN Bowler attaches to the user's wheelchair. A caddy places the ball atop the IKAN Bowler, as the user instructs (how the finger holes are positioned determines the shape of the shot). The user's knowledge of the ball, plus where the user sets up, then drives forward, turning the chair slightly left and right (aiming the shot) as necessary when approaching the foul line, and finally braking the wheelchair which sends the ball down the IKAN Bowler -- that is what determines how well we bowl.

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) declared that process and the IKAN Bowler acceptable for league play -- any league anywhere in the U.S. -- sanctioning it for competition with and against able-bodied bowlers or IKAN Users.

Ok, that sets the foundation for this blog. I'll be back soon with the first profile and story about an IKAN User. I am also in school via the University of Florida's online business program (bachelor's degree) which takes up quite a bit of time, but I'll have at least one blog entry each month.

Our IKAN products are available right now for shipping anywhere in the world (shipping to the continental United States is included in the price, but we can ship anywhere).

Anyone who may be interested, ABSOLUTELY MUST READ my next post about a PRICE BREAK on our products (click HERE!:).

Thank you very much for your interest! :-)


Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 202 High Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
Business website:
Personal website:
emPOWERing Wheelchair Users!