Title:
Tote box merchandising method and apparatus for charcoal, hickory & mesquite chips
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is to a method and apparatus for merchandising charcoal products in a box dimensioned for display on a store shelf. The box has a handle and preferably includes a merchandising window. Wood chip samples, such as hickory chips or mesquite chips, can be packaged with the tote box and the presence of the sample is preferably made known to consumers via the merchandising window. The tote box handle and size allows for easier consumer handling and the box form allows improved retail and consumer storage. Additionally, since boxes are inherently more stable than bags and are less prone to tipping over, consumers benefit from reduce spillage from opened containers. The box size combined with the merchandising window and wood chip sample provides retailers with improved marketing of charcoal products.



Inventors:
Neal, Bill G. (Chuckey, TN, US)
Application Number:
09/874003
Publication Date:
02/14/2002
Filing Date:
06/06/2001
Assignee:
NEAL BILL G.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D5/42; B65D5/46; B65D5/52; B65D81/32; B65D85/00; A47J37/07; (IPC1-7): B65D25/54
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MOHANDESI, JILA M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roberts Abokhair & Mardula, LLC (Reston, VA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box, comprising: packaging said charcoal products in said tote box, wherein said tote box is dimensioned to allow merchandising on store shelves; and providing a handle on said tote box.

2. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 1, further comprising providing a wood chip sample with said charcoal products.

3. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 2, wherein said wood chip sample is selected from the group consisting of hickory chips and mesquite chips.

4. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 2, further comprising providing a see-through merchandising window on said tote box.

5. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 4, further comprising providing said wood chip sample in a separate package associated with said tote box.

6. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 5, further comprising integrally forming said separate package with said merchandising window.

7. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 5, further comprising securing said separate package with adhesive to an interior side of said merchandising window.

8. The method of merchandising charcoal products in a tote box of claim 5, further comprising inserting said separate package in a wall of said tote box and providing a second merchandising window on said separate package.

9. A tote box for merchandising charcoal products, comprising: a box dimensioned to allow merchandising on store shelves; a handle on said box; and a wood chip sample for inclusion with said charcoal products.

10. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 9, wherein said wood chip sample is selected from the group consisting of hickory chips and mesquite chips.

11. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 9, further comprising a see-through merchandising window on said box.

12. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 11, wherein said wood chip sample is in a separate package associated with said tote box.

13. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 12, wherein said merchandising window integrally forms a wall of said separate package.

14. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 12, further comprising adhesive attached to an interior side of said merchandising window and securing said separate package to said merchandising window.

15. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 12, further comprising: an opening in a wall of said box; a flange formed on said separate package, wherein said flange is secured to a perimeter of said opening; and a second merchandising window on said separate package adjacent said flange.

16. A tote box for merchandising charcoal products, comprising: a box dimensioned to allow merchandising on store shelves; a handle on said box; and a see-through merchandising window on said box for consumer inspection of said charcoal products.

17. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 16, further comprising a wood chip sample for inclusion with said charcoal products.

18. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 17, wherein said wood chip sample is selected from the group consisting of hickory chips and mesquite chips.

19. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 17, wherein said wood chip sample is in a separate package associated with said tote box.

20. The tote box for merchandising charcoal products of claim 19, wherein said separate package is associated with said tote box by a means selected from the group consisting of: loose placement in said box with said charcoal products, having said merchandising window integrally form a wall of said separate package, having adhesive attached to an interior side of said merchandising window secure said separate package to said merchandising window, and having said separate package inserted into an opening in said box with a second merchandising window formed in a viewable portion of said separate package.

Description:

RELATIONSHIP TO PRIOR APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/209,794, filed Jun. 7, 2000, and incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention is drawn to an improved package for merchandising charcoal briquettes. More particularly, the invention is to a tote box with a flat-folding handle for charcoal and can include hickory & mesquite chips with the charcoal.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

[0003] Charcoal briquettes for outdoor grilling are generally sold in large paper bags. These bags can be difficult to carry due to their awkward and shifting shape, large size and weight, and lack of handles. Merchandising is usually limited to stacking of the bags on pallets past the checkout counter of stores. This location provides little opportunity to market the charcoal or to market smaller packages of hickory & mesquite chips with the charcoal.

[0004] After prior art charcoal bags have been opened, the bags lack a secure closure. The bags tip easily and the charcoal can spill from the bags.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention is to a tote box with a flat-folding handle for charcoal and can include hickory & mesquite chips with the charcoal.

[0006] It is an object of the invention to provide a package of charcoal briquettes that is suitable for merchandising on ordinary store shelves.

[0007] It is a further object of the invention to provide a package of charcoal briquettes that includes a handle to ease carrying of the package by consumers.

[0008] It is another object of the invention to provide a package of charcoal briquettes that can include a window portion for viewing the charcoal, hickory and/or mesquite chips, or both.

[0009] It is another object of the invention to provide a package of charcoal briquettes that can be closed after being opened.

[0010] It is yet another object of the invention to provide a package of charcoal briquettes that is resistant to tipping and spillage when stored.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 illustrates a basic embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention that includes a flap on the lid through which the handle is accessed in order to provide a closure.

[0013] FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention that includes a merchandising window for the charcoal.

[0014] FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention that includes a merchandising window for hickory and/or mesquite chips.

[0015] FIG. 5 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention that includes a merchandising window for the charcoal and the hickory and/or mesquite chips.

[0016] FIG. 6 illustrates a secondary merchandising enclosure for use with the box.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0017] As shown in the most basic embodiment of FIG. 1, a tote box 10 for charcoal briquettes is formed by attaching a handle 12 to the lid 14 of a box 16 used to hold the charcoal. The handle 12 preferably folds flat when not in use. The tote box 10 is dimensioned to allow merchandising on store shelves and hold an amount of charcoal that can be readily handled by a typical consumer with one hand via the included handle 12. A typical form of the handle 12 has a wide, flat, central portion 13 that is grasped for carrying the box and has thinner, T-shaped sections 15 on the ends. The cross portions of the T-shaped sections 15 are inserted through the lid 14 by known methods and configured to resist being pulled out when the handle 12 is lifted so as to attach the handle 12 for carrying purposes.

[0018] The tote box 10 can include a perforated section 17 to be used for opening the package and pouring out the charcoal briquettes. A second type of lid that can be used is illustrated in FIG. 2. This embodiment includes a set a flaps 20, 21, wherein the bottom flap 20 incorporates the handle 22 and the top flap 21 has an opening 24 through which the handle 22 is accessed. The interlocking nature of the flaps 20, 21 and handle 22/opening 24 provides a closure system for the tote box 10.

[0019] In either of these embodiments, a small sample of hickory and/or mesquite chips (not shown) can be included with or placed on top of the charcoal in the tote box 10.

[0020] FIG. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the tote box 10 of the present invention wherein at least a portion of the exterior of the box is formed with clear sheet material, such as plastic film, to form a merchandising window 30. This allows consumers to see the charcoal and, if a small sample of hickory and/or mesquite chips is included in the package, the sample 32 can be placed so as to be viewable by consumers through the window 30. A light adhesive 34 can be used to assure the sample doesn't migrate away from the window 30 during shipping.

[0021] FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of the tote box 10 of the present invention wherein a smaller window 40 is used. Although such a window 40 can be used like the one in FIG. 3, it can also be incorporated into the box with its own separate backing material so as to form a separate, second container for holding and merchandising the hickory and/or mesquite chips. A typical way to incorporate this would be to form a small plastic tray 60 with a flange 62 for holding the wood chips 64, covering the top with clear film 66 attached to the flange 62, inserting the back of the tray through a corresponding opening in the box wall 68, and fixing the flange 62 to the box wall 68, as shown in FIG. 6.

[0022] FIG. 5 shows another embodiment of the invention that includes both the charcoal window 50 discussed in FIG. 3 and the secondary window 52 covering the second container for holding and merchandising the hickory and/or mesquite chips of FIG. 4.

[0023] A preferred material for the box is cardboard and a preferred material for the handle and window portions is plastic.

[0024] Although the specific, preferred handles have been disclosed herein, one of ordinary skill would appreciate that other handles, such as flat plastic or cardboard handles that bend upwardly, straps that engage an upper portion of the box sides, or other commonly used box handles of sufficient strength can also be used without departing from the present invention.

[0025] Although the tote box has been disclosed as rectangular, other shapes with flat, stable bases, such as squares, pyramids, truncated pyramids, cones, etc. can also be used. Likewise, the shapes and sizes shown for the window portions are merely illustrative, and other shapes such as circles, ovals, trapezoids, etc. can also be used without departing from the scope of the present invention.