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Boat Parts Maker Booming With 'Snow Business'

By Bill Hudson, WCCO-TV

-- Inside a busy factory on the outskirts of the Twin Cities is heard the ringing of aluminum and clattering of heavy machines. It's a cacophony of sounds that's like a sweet symphony to Garelick's company president, Ken Garelick.

"There's an instruction sheet for the consumer on how to put it together," Garelick said, as he pointed to the product's cardboard box.

Three straight seasons of heavy snow blanketing the U.S. means that orders for Garelick's "snow rakes" isn't about to subside. That's great news for the 71 people his company employs.

"This is the third year in a row where we've had very good demand early, because the inventory from the previous year has been depleted," said Garelick.

With this season's heavy snowpack on rooftops causing damaging ice dams for countless homeowners, Garelick Manufacturing is staying busy, trying to keep its "original roof rake" on store shelves.

Garelick developed the all aluminum rake back in 1971, which is nearly 20 years after brothers Saul and Joe Garelick started their company.

Their first product occurred to Joe while water skiing on Lake Minnetonka. After falling into the water he thought it would be easier if he could make a ladder to climb back into the boat. So, in 1952 they began making aluminum boat ladders, which rapidly grew along with the ever expanding marine business.

Today, those marine ladders, in addition to boat seats, pedestals, transom motor mounts and telescoping poles carry the summer business. They are just a few of the 350-plus products the company fabricates out of aluminum and stainless steel.

However, beginning in late July and lasting through February, Garelick is the leading maker or roof rakes.

Dianne Nelson's been with the company for 35 years and has spent most of those years in the assembly or packaging of roof rakes. Nelson says it's a good thing, since the marine industry was hard hit by the most recent recession.

"We had a rough year last year and snow rakes got us through it. And it's doing it again this year. Yeah, we are glad to have these," said Nelson.

Ken Garelick said orders will continue to pour in so long as heavy snows keep falling.

"We'll build these through the end of February," Garelick proudly proclaimed.

With the look of things outside, from the Carolina's to Colorado, the plant will continue to stay busy. It's keeping people like Dianne Nelson employed and the punch presses singing their happy sounds.

WCCO-TV's Bill Hudson Reports

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