Fred Paolucci

Fred Paolucci, of North Providence, will take his dig-git umbrella holder to the TV show America’s Big Deal.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Fred Paolucci may have caught his big break.

The local inventor has been selected to present his dig-git beach umbrella anchor on the new USA Network show “America’s Big Deal,” with his live episode set to air Oct. 28.

“It came out of nowhere,” Paolucci told The Breeze. “It’s amazing how it happened.”

Paolucci, a North Providence resident who runs his Dig-git Beach Gear business out of an industrial space in Providence, said he first heard from Dara Trujillo about the show coming back in 2018, and he thought at first that it might be a scam.

When he received another email in May seeing if he was interested, he filled out the application and answered the email at his daughter’s urging. Now, he said, he’s ready for his big debut. He said he’s excited, but not really all that nervous.

“To me it’s like a sales call at a trade show,” he said.

Similar to “Shark Tank,” “America’s Big Deal” contestants win through live sales to viewers during the episode. Each hopeful takes the stage and gives a three-minute pitch, after which viewers are prompted with an on-screen code to scan in order to purchase the projects featured. The person with the most sales wins the chance to strike a life-changing deal with one of the show’s retail giants. The show is hosted by Scott Evans and produced by Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano.

The Breeze reported on Paolucci’s dig-git beach umbrella anchor in 2015, the “crazy idea” for it born on Bonnet Shores. The anchor, which allows people to bury it and then fix their beach umbrella into place, has changed the beach experience to be safer and less frustrating, says Paolucci.

His dig-git beach gear first went on shelves at Benny’s stores in 2011, and with the help of business partner David Rotondo, also of North Providence, the Ocean State’s homegrown product grew in popularity.

With its patented technology, dig-git umbrellas can withstand high winds so the beach-goer “can start enjoying the beach and stop chasing runaway umbrellas.”

Paolucci was at Bonnet Shores with his wife in 2005 when he says they saw an umbrella go flying and land between two people, nearly taking them out.

He said he thought then that there had to be a better way. He found a digging tool at a local store and rigged it up to a Corona umbrella, and would use that contraption for three years before even thinking about creating something better for others to use.

Paolucci said he’s not sure how he got on Trujillo’s radar, but said he and others are selected based on being entrepreneurs with great products who haven’t truly been discovered yet.

So does Paolucci think this could be his big break?

“It could be,” he said. “It actually could be.”

He said he loves that America gets to decide the winners of each episode, saying winning comes down to how well one pitches the product. Paolucci must make $30,000 worth of merchandise available.

The winner, he said, will get a $100,000 purchase order, which would be huge for him and his company. Each episode features four contestants.

Paolucci said business was good prior to COVID-19, and the pandemic has only provided a boost, with many people looking to enjoy outdoor experiences such as the beach like never before.

Since also developing the dig-git beach umbrella with a special vent design and attached anchor, he is making waves in the commercial umbrella industry with his anchor disc, which makes the umbrella virtually immovable.

For more on Paolucci’s products, visit www.dig-git.com .

“America’s Big Deal” airs on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on USA Network.

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