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Idea turns 'what if' into new business

A woman's 4 a.m. concerns about family emergency notification lead to First Call.

By JIM ROSS

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 6, 2001


SUGARMILL WOODS -- Inspiration can come at any time and in any place. For Alma Warren, it came at 4 a.m. while she was driving some Sugarmill Woods neighbors to the airport.

What would happen, Mrs. Warren wondered, if she were involved in a vehicle wreck and knocked unconscious? Emergency help would arrive, of course, and rescuers would find her driver's license, which includes her address.

But they would have no immediate way of knowing how to contact her husband, who was in England at the time, or her other relatives, who don't live at her home.

Five months later, Mrs. Warren's husband, Barrie, has shaped that idea into a business called First Call.

The business sells a product, a bright yellow tag with First Call written in black letters. Inside the pouch is a white slip of paper on which the owner can write his or her key information.

The tag comes with a strap so it can be attached to a steering wheel or purse strap. Joggers and walkers might take them along, as well.

Barrie and Alma Warren have never been involved in this kind of business before. They said the toughest part was finding suppliers for all parts of the tag.

"It took a lot of research," Barrie Warren said.

Now they have secured all the supplies and assembled 2,000 copies. The Warrens have distributed copies to relatives who live abroad and in other parts of the United States.

They someday hope to win a contract to supply a big store, such as Wal-Mart, with First Call tags.

The Warrens hope this will be a financial success, of course. But they also are excited at the altruistic prospects.

"Look at all the people we're going to help," Mrs. Warren said.

The tags are for sale ($5.99 per tag, not including tax) at Nails by Kris at Fabulous Fingers, 1905 State Road 44 West in Inverness. They also are available by calling the Warrens at 382-3629 or by sending a check or money order to P.O. Box 3499, Homosassa Springs, FL 34447-3499.

The web page is www.firstcalltag.com.

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