How a medical examiner became an entrepreneur — and ended up on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’

 Detail from the Wall Rx repair kit package.

Detail from the Wall Rx repair kit package.

Dr. James Lewis went from stitching up bodies to inventing a Band-Aid for your wall.

“I guess that’s where I get this idea of trying to fix things, particularly holes,” said the longtime medical examiner. “Because, every day, you see a different type of hole.”

Lewis is the inventor of Wall Rx, a drywall repair kit available in Lowe’s stores nationwide. This Friday, the Chester County resident will appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their wares to a panel of big-time investors.

“They do not play around,” Lewis said of his “Shark Tank” experience. (Show participants are under contract to not reveal details about the show’s taping.)

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So how did a medical examiner end up in the home-repair business?

It all started with a newly refinished basement and a scraped knee.

“My daughter screams, I drop the Christmas tree,” Lewis recalled. “The stem of the artificial Christmas tree had fallen down the steps and harpooned into the wall.”

A few weeks and $350 later, a handyman had it fixed. But the incident sent Lewis on a quest to build a better wall patch.

“I said, ‘Look, I’m going to invent something that puts you out of business,'” he said.

That was three years ago. Lewis said he has knocked more than 100 holes in his own walls since then, experimenting with hundreds of versions of Wall Rx to get it just right.

“It is a simple thing, but it took 402 iterations before we got what we got today,” Lewis said.

A homemade prototype and a well-connected lawyer landed Lewis a meeting at Lowe’s headquarters. After one year in the big box chain, Wall Rx has sold 90,000 units, according to Lewis.

“I invented this so that people who have no skills … can fix a hole in the wall in less than 20 seconds,” he said.

After a successful “Shark Tank” audition in Philadelphia last spring, Lewis is now getting his 15 minutes on TV. (It’s not his first experience with the medium, however. During the O.J. Simpson trial Lewis worked as a consultant for NBC News.)

He’s sworn to secrecy as to how his “Shark Tank” taping turned out. No word on whether he’ll be partnering with QVC maven Lori Greiner. But Lewis is planning a viewing party at his attorney’s office when the show airs Friday night.

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