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Mike Holmes gets Dragon-approved lunchbox

Sudbury miners have been able to sit on Leo May's metal lunchboxes for half a decade. A Dragon from CBC television show Dragon's Den recently sat on one. Now, TV personality and contractor Mike Holmes can sit on one too.
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Mike Holmes poses with one of Catherine Langin's locally-made lunch boxes. Holmes was giving a talk to a packed house at Rainbow Cinemas as part of the Sudbury Living Lifestyle and Home Show on Oct. 18. The company is responsible for producing a million of the metal lunch boxes since her dad, Leo May an Inco miner (now deceased), began production over 50 years ago.

Sudbury miners have been able to sit on Leo May's metal lunchboxes for half a decade. A Dragon from CBC television show  Dragon's Den recently sat on one. Now, TV personality and contractor Mike Holmes can sit on one too.

Holmes was presented with a super sized, locally-made lunch box Sunday, Oct. 18, at Rainbow Cinemas by Patricia Mills, publisher of Sudbury Living Magazine. Holmes was a making a presentation at the Sudbury Living Lifestyle and Home Show. The gift originated from local businesswoman Catherine Langin, owner of L. May Metal Fabricators.

“It's a super sized lunch box, 14 inches long by 5 and a half inches wide. I also had a similar sized lunch pail presented (at the show) as a door prize,” she said.

The metal lunch pails have been receiving a lot of attention lately.

Last week, Langin appeared on the CBC television show Dragons' Den, attempting to convince one of the venture capitalists on the show's business panel to invest in her company.

After a few back-and-forth negotiations on the show, Langin was able to convince one of the Dragons, investment banker Brett Wilson, to provide $75,000 in equity for 20 per cent of her company. She would also get a $75,000 line of operating credit from Wilson.

As the show that aired last Wednesday was taped earlier in the year, negotiations with Wilson are still on-going.

“I have been in contact with David Waslen, Brett's vice president of business development at one of his companies, Prairie Merchant Corporation. At this point it is (still) back and forth,” said Langin.

She is asking for the capital and loan to increase production “substantially” at her Moonlight Avenue area location.

“I want new equipment,” she said. It was reported on the show that in 2008 the company earned a net profit of $45,000, after producing 5,000 lunch pails. In the past, production has been higher when off-site buildings were utilized.

Langin cautioned that a deal negotiated on the CBC show is not airtight.

“This deal can change. It is not a 100 per cent done deal, as both parties do their due diligence.”

However, the television exposure has paid off for Langin.

“I just met an official from FedNor. He saw me on television (and) he said they have programs for developing industrial prototypes.”

Langin is developing a new lunch pail that involves an anodizing process where an electrical charge is applied to the metal so that various colours, patterns or even pictures can be embedded into the metal. Now she can offer pink lunch pails.

What did she think of the Dragons' Den experience?

“I felt I was treated kindly, as opposed to some of the others (entrepreneurs).”

Langin said she thought that using a photo of her late dad, from a 1963 Inco Triangle publication, helped her cause during her presentation.

L. May lunch boxes are sold in a variety of sizes at Soucie Salo, Superior Safety, City Surplus and Clark Phillips. To learn more about the Dragons' Den show, as well as view Langin's presentation, visit www.cbc.ca/dragonsden.



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