It all started on a cocktail napkin…
Kent Winter thought he could build a better mousetrap. He looked at snow plow blades and thought snow removal could be done in a smarter way. And that’s when he decided to make his first plow guards. Being new to the industry, he had a lot of learning to do. How to make them, how to sell them, who to sell them to were questions that needed to be answered. We sat down with Kent to talk about how he got started in the industry:
“Years ago, I came across a brochure on tungsten carbide blades for snow plows, and coming from a welding background, I thought uneven blade wear was an interesting problem. I went to different cities to look at their plows and took note of the blade wear. I thought I could come up with a new solution. The funny part about it was, like all good ideas, it was started on a cocktail napkin. I just sketched out some ideas for what later became Winter Equipment snow plow guards.
“From there I started making paper models of my ideas with graph paper and popsicle sticks—this is long before I had computers and CAD programs. In the beginning, I was just trying to get people interested.
“I was able to get in front of the right people and show them my idea. It took me about four or five tries to convince someone, but eventually I was able to get the reaction I was looking for— ‘‘OK, kid, we’ll give you a chance.
“That put me over the moon. I’d gotten my first order! I got into my car and thought ‘Yes!’ Then my second thought was ‘Oh no, where am I going to make this stuff?’ Of course, it’s heavy pieces of steel that require all this welding and fabrication. At the time, I didn’t have all the high-tech lathes, punches and other machines we have today, so I built the prototype in my garage. When I delivered that first product my customer looked a little surprised and said, ‘that’s it, huh?’
“But he must have liked it because he ordered another. And another. Then other orders came in and I realized that I must be onto something good.”
In today’s business environment, you have to continually innovate and improve your product line in order to remain competitive. Customers demand products that are more efficient, more durable and more cost-effective. At Winter Equipment we believe in giving the customer a great buying experience and a great product that can last multiple seasons. This keeps your crews on the roads pushing snow, instead of changing blades in a cold, wet, garage during a blizzard.
Winter Equipment blades are the true good value option because you end up paying less in the long run, as your blades will far outlast the competition, and we’re the only company in the industry that guarantees it. How did Winter Equipment manage to do that? That’s going to have to be a story for another blog post.