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Breaking the Ice

Want skeptical customers to warm up to your product? Here's the scoop on how to win them over.

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This story appears in the February 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Entrepreneurs: Inventor Peter Lerman, 51, of Bethel, Connecticut, and licensee and marketer Lou Matinale, 42, president of Matony Products, a company that licenses products from inventors

Product Description: Lerman's invention, the Sno-Easy, is an ergonomic shovel that allows the user to shovel snow without bending or twisting. It features a "helper handle," which pivots on two axes in different directions: up, so the shovel can be picked up without bending over, and then in a second direction, allowing the handle to be twisted to dump the snow. After Lerman developed the product, he met Matinale through a mutual contact in 2001; Matinale agreed to handle the production and marketing. Now sold at retailers like Home Depot, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, the Sno-Easy shovel retails for $19.99.

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