Granny Jo Helps Elderly Age With Dignity

We’re highlighting small businesses from around the country as nominated by you, our readers. If your favorite small business is using Twitter to communicate with customers, let us know about it @fbsmallbiz with the hashtag #mysbc, and it may be featured as an upcoming Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Spotlight: Granny Jo Products

Who: Jo-Ann Tilghman, @gjproducts

What: Products for senior citizens

When: 2007

Where: Lakeland, Fla.

How: Granny Jo Products got its start when Jo-Ann Tilghman’s mother-in-law began battling Alzheimer’s.

“She had trouble with her coffee mug, and I couldn’t find anything that had two handles and wasn’t a sippy cup for kids,” Tilghman said.

So Tilghman called her son James and asked him to find out if any of his business contacts could make a mug with two handles. She had a picture of her ideal mug within 24 hours. The “Dignity Mug” was Tilghman’s first product in a line that now includes other items such as walker and wheelchair accessories, napkin clips and ponchos.

“The napkin clip has sold beyond our wildest dreams,” Tilghman said. “No one wants to take a bib with them when they go to a restaurant.”

Tilghman explained that while the need for such products is there, few outlets are available. But Granny Jo Products also sells items through its website, and some stores have responded by buying products wholesale. She added that most Granny Jo Products are below $50.

Quote from the owner: “We really try to add some dignity to people’s lives as they age. The steps down are very difficult. If you can make it a little more fashion friendly, it helps. And we try to allow people to have things that reflect their personality.”