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One small business has found a way to dig itself out of the snowballing recession — snow rakes. Lots of them.

Tipke Manufacturing, a metal fabricating company in Spokane, Washington, did not have much to look forward to entering the holidays. The small business of about 25 employees went through a round of layoffs and was planning to close its doors from Christmas Eve until early January.

But wintry weather hit the Pacific Northwest earlier than usual, dumping record amounts of snow and collapsing the roofs of a supermarket, a hardware store and a church gymnasium in the Spokane area.

A brainstorming session among employees led to designs for a prototype of a snow rake, an extending metal rake that pulls snow off roofs.

“We were just tossing ideas around of how we could make a rake that was sturdier and stronger than others out there,” said Ryan Ford, vice president of Tipke Manufacturing.

Call it the right timing or the right product, but the response was overwhelming, the company said. After the first batch sold out on December 23, people stood in line for hours waiting for more.

Photo by KXLY-TV.

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Originally posted by Rich Whittle on January 13, 2009 in Ideas.


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