During the winter of 2007 Bob and Linda Graves; owners of Grand Island Log Homes purchased Iverson's Snowshoes, makers of traditional white ash snowshoes and snowshoe furniture.
The Graves made it their intention to continue making the traditional wooden snowshoes the same as they have been made for over 40 years. The process starts with a white ash log, which is cut down to sticks; these are then placed in a steamer to give the wood more flexibility. The snowshoe is then bent around a form and then placed in a dry kiln; the task of lacing the shoes then begins. The one unique factor that sets Iverson's snowshoes apart from other snowshoe makers is that their shoes are dipped in a snowshoe lacquer that prevents snow from sticking to the shoes. Iverson also manufactures neoprene snowshoes. The snowshoes come in nine different variations and range from $170 to $265. Although Iverson's is known nationwide for its traditional craftsmanship of snowshoes, they also have a unique line of furniture, as well as trout fishing nets, all of their products are "Made in the U.S.A."
Mr. Graves has worked closely with Joel Schultz, Regional Director and Lance Wolfe, Business Consultant at MI-SBTDC region 1 office on issues that have affected his business to include export assistance, business planning, government contracting and marketing. "I appreciate the time and effort Joel and Lance have committed to my business and look forward to their continued support." Bob Graves stated. Mr. Graves has been able to re-capture a substantial market share in the snow shoe industry for Michigan. In addition, he has added new product line such as wooden, handcrafted fishing nets which will add to the diversity to the company's product line. The company has also "teamed up" with other retail stores within the U.P. of Michigan to sell Iverson products, this is a "win, win" situation for Iverson and the retail community of Northern Michigan.
In this age of high-tech, lightweight metal snowshoes, traditional wood snowshoes, derived from Native American designs, have been eclipsed. But Iverson's bent ash snowshoes are still the best, according to a U.P. man who spends much of his time in winter working outdoors in the snow. "It's not a matter of snowshoe weight," he says. "You have to add the snow that gets lifted on the tops of new-style snowshoes. Traditional snowshoes with tails were designed for long distances. The heavy snow slides off the tail. Iverson's bearpaw, with the rounded back, is a wonderful, stable platform to work off of. The high-tech snowshoes just punch holes in the snow." For people with short legs, traditional snowshoes do force a spread-legged gait some find uncomfortable.
Iverson Snowshoes are easy to use and practical. Iverson's original customers were lumberjacks and park rangers who work on snowshoes. The firm makes nine variations for different purposes, in either the higher-maintenance traditional rawhide lacing or the tough neoprene style. Iverson's will advise prospective snowshoe buyers which shoes best suit their size, weight, and purpose.
For more information on the quality products manufactured at Iverson's call: (906) 452-6370, or visit their website at: www.iversons-snowshoes.com.