By Steve Hansen
While living in the snow-belt city of Buffalo, New York, Glenn Lubera got an idea while using the snowplow attachment on his pickup truck.
“Why do we scoop and toss snow away from pathways when all we really need to do is get it out of the way?” he thought. “Why can’t a shoveler of snow instead be a walking snowplow?”
Lubera has worked with this idea on and off for the past eight years and in the meantime has moved from the land of 9-foot snow seasons to Logan, where the idea has now taken solid form — his 3D Snow Shovel, which he hopes to start assembling for market as soon as this winter.
He has applied similar thinking to a device called the 3D Broom and with more than $80,000 in assistance from Local Economic Development Act funding, he hopes to launch his 3D Tools Company in Tucumcari this winter.
On Thursday, the Tucumcari City Commission gave final approval to granting Lubera $80,320 and the use of 8,500 square feet in the old broom factory at 815 E. Whitmore, which the city owns, under the authority of LEDA.
LEDA funds are raised locally through a 1/8 of 1 percent gross receipts tax that voters approved in 1999. The local tax is authorized by state legislation, and any projects that receive LEDA funds must be approved at the state level.
Lubera has pledged to create two full-time jobs filled by local residents within a year and file annual reports to the Greater Tucumcari Economic Development Corp. to determine whether his operation is complying with conditions.
At first, he said, the tools will be assembled in Tucumcari with parts made elsewhere, but eventually he wants to manufacture all the parts in the city.
The 3D snow shovel has a locking swivel between its plastic handle and blade that allows the user to set the blade diagonally to either side of the user’s walking direction.
That helps the blade act as a snowplow.
The blade contacts the snow at a vertical angle and curls at the top to direct snow to the side.
The 3D broom, Lubera said, will also swivel to allow snowplow-like action and will include a squeegee feature to move water out of the way.
Lubera said he hopes to introduce 3D’s snow shovel and broom through local and regional retailers in both eastern New Mexico and the Buffalo areas.
Lubera’s wife Kim is a Buffalo native and will help introduce the 3D tools in that area, he said.
“It’s a family operation,” he said.
The initial price for the snow shovel is about $40. The broom’s introductory price, he said is about $25.