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He Rents Out Portable Picnic Tables
“My wife said I was crazy for building a portable picnic table that I could pull behind my pickup,” says Robert Hanselman, a South Dakota inventor. “But since I built it, I’ve had to build two more to rent out.”
  Hanselman’s mobile table is 18 ft. long, rides on a chassis from an old van, and hooks to his pickup’s receiver hitch. The frame is made from 2 by 2-in. tubing. Treated deck lumber is used for the seats and top.
  Hanselman says he built the first table because his family needed a place to display the pumpkins that they grow on their hobby farm. “We wanted something portable and easy to move, and this was just the ticket. Then somebody suggested we take it to a local ballgame to have a nice place to sit. It became real popular after that,” Hanselman says. Now he rents the table for $50 a day and has a long list of people using it, some as far as 50 miles away. Big Daddy’s Barbecue, a vendor at the DakotaFest farm show in nearby Mitchell, has used Hanselman’s original table. It seats 18 people comfortably.
  The table rides on an axle from an old mini-van that Hanselman found at a local salvage yard. It weighs about 1,000 lbs., has signal lights and can be towed down the road at nearly 60 miles an hour. After the success of the first table Hanselman built a second one just like it. When a vendor wanted to rent both tables, Hanselman put a hitch on the back of his first table and towed both of them behind his pickup at the same time. “It saved me a trip over and back, and that paid for the hitch,” Hanselman says.
  This past summer he built a third table and all three have been used often. “We’ve rented them for weddings, baseball and football games, family reunions, fairs and DakotaFest,” Hanselman says.
  This winter he’ll work on a new design to include a grill that will mount off the back wheels. “I think there’s an opportunity to get real creative and if the rental cost is reasonable there’s a good market for the tables,” Hanselman says.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert Hanselman, 284 East Enemy Creek, Mitchell, S. Dak. 57301 (ph 605 999-4139; Hanselman@santel.net).

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2012 - Volume #36, Issue #6