News Release Archive

  Bill Skidmore's idea of re-cycling discarded tires "rolled"
  around in his head for a few years. When he left his job in
  the mining industry he seized the opportunity to put his
  ideas into action.
  Working from a building leased on a "good will" basis, he
  established his Stellarton business, Skids Mats, in August
  1994, manufacturing colourful floor mats from old tires. 
  Despite his intent to "tread" warily, steady sales prompted
  him to move into his own building. In December 1994, he
  applied for a $4,000 first step loan from the Nova Scotia
  Economic Renewal Agency's community business loan program to
  help with an expansion to increase production volume. He
  also expanded his production line to include flower-pots,
  firewood carriers, bait washers for lobster traps and
  childrens' cradle-swings that look like horses - all made
  from used tires.
  While rubber floor mats from used tires may seem to
  represent a unique twist on a current wave of environmental
  products, there is nothing new about the process. "Ken Wyman
  invented the system about 46 years ago in New York,"
  explained Mr. Skidmore. So while he has no immediate
  competition in Pictou County, his unusual trade is not alone
  in North America.
  Recently, Mr. Skidmore travelled to New York, Kentucky and
  North Carolina to pick up supplies, make business
  connections and get new ideas. "I've seen exhibitions of
  dartboards, lawn games and even jewellery, all made from
  used tires," he said. The number of possible applications is
  only limited by the imagination.
  However, the work is labour-intensive. Using cutting and
  wire-bending equipment, Mr. Skidmore takes about two hours
  to complete a recycled garbage can. Even though he is able
  to make several at a time, he admits "there are not enough
  hours in a day."
  "A couple of contracts could mean I'll have to hire two or
  three employees," he said. So far, he is busy selling to
  local shops, craft sales and flea markets and has generated
  interest from hardware and furniture stores.
  The trick is to make the appropriate products for the time
  of year. "Sales are quite seasonal. The mats and flower pots
  sell well in spring, the swings do well in the summer and
  I've sold firewood carriers as far away as B.C. in the
  winter," explained Mr. Skidmore.
  His imagination has not stopped working yet - he has some
  unusual projects in mind for the future. "I'd like to make
  picnic tables and lawn furniture. . .although that will
  require the large truck tires," he said. Nearby Michelin
  Tire's Granton plant and Eastern Tires Ltd., provide Mr.
  Skidmore with a steady supply of raw materials.
  "Mr. Skidmore is putting a waste product to profitable good
  use, at the same time as developing further employment
  potential and contributing to the local economy. It's a
  model of community economic development and shows the type
  of initiative the community business loan program is
  designed to support," said Economic Renewal Minister Robert
  Contact: Linda Laffin   902-424-8922
           Bill Skidmore  902-752-3997
  trp                    Nov. 02, 1995