RPM EZ HAND RAKE™
Warren Bowden wanted to save time and avoid the tedious aspects of yard work so he designed the EZ Hand Rake™. Learn more about his story, and the story of RPM.
After moving to his new home in Paradise, California in 1958, Warren raked pine needles on his nearly 2-acre property annually with a leaf rake. Like the rest of us, he plugged along raking and unclogging his fan rake with nearly every sweep of the rake. Not liking yard work and preferring to be on a lake fishing, Warren thought of his motto "work smarter not harder" and felt there had to be a way to make the laborious task of raking pine needles easier and faster.
While on vacation to visit family in the Midwest, Warren saw some tines at a hardware store that he thought just might work for raking pine needles. He purchased a few of them. That was approximately in 1995. Upon returning home to Paradise, Warren proceeded to "craft" his first prototype. He and a friend tested it. "It's just too large a rake head," said his friend, "and you need to fix the handle." "But," continued his friend, "before the handle came off, the darn thing worked real good." So, Warren began to work on his second prototype, which he continues to use to this day on his property.
It wasn't until late 2009, when showing the rake to Shirley that got the rake going in the direction that it is currently. Shirley saw the value of the rake and said, "You've got to get this out to the people who are working too hard raking pine needles the old way! I'm certain that others would want to have a rake like this too to make their jobs easier."
And so the business began. The rake is now patented. RPM ez Hand Rake incorporated in 2014 in the State of California.
Many users of the RPM Hand Rake have "educated" the principals to the rake's many uses. Not only is it a pine needle rake/pitchfork used for the Landscaping/Gardening Industry, the rake is being used in the Equestrian Industry, in Goat Ranches, Fire Suppressant Companies, Building Contractors and Roofing Contractors for clean-up purposes to name a few.
RPM EZ HAND RAKE™
Warren was born in Truman, Minnesota and moved to Chico, CA when he was approximately 7 years old. He never lost his ties with family members in the Midwest and visits them often. This is mostly where Warren learned about agricultural products and equipment.
The Bowden family lived in Paradise where they became very active in the community. Warren and Darlene were instrumental in starting a living history museum -- "The Gold Nugget Museum" -- in Paradise in the mid 1970's, and an annual Gold Nugget Days weekend to celebrate the finding of the 54-pound gold nugget in 1859. To this day, the town of Paradise celebrates Gold Nugget Days yearly in late April.
Warren is in charge of ordering parts for the manufacturing of the rakes. He also manufactures the rakes out of his garage in Oroville currently. And, he is in charge of shipping and receiving.
Shirley was born in Hilo, Hawaii, moving to California from Reno, Nevada. While in California, Shirley worked as an Assistant Controller in the Bay Area for one of the top 500 American Stock Exchange companies. After several years of employment with that company, she was promoted to a Branch Manager's position managing a Plumbing Supply and Underground Waterworks branch in Oroville, CA.
Shirley returned to college in the 1980's getting her master’s degree from California State University, Chico, CA. She became an entrepreneur and opened the first internet service provider company in Oroville in 1995 which she continues to operate to this day.
Shirley's duties at RPM ez Hand Rake, Inc. are to keep the website current, answering all emails, and being responsible for all the company's finances. She also assists with shipping product.