SugarHouse Industries

SugarhouseSugarhouse’s Snow Shield™ takes on the strongest snow storms.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media

For more than 75 years, SugarHouse Industries has been the trusted name in awnings and boat covers for property owners and businesses throughout the country. As the company built a reputation for best-in-class craftsmanship and began diversifying its portfolio of products, it developed the Snow Shield™ brand of snow tarps more than 30 years ago and the construction industry is just now taking notice. 

“Snow Shield came about in 1985 when a local ski resort contacted us to help them solve a problem – they wanted to build condos at a high elevation, but were spending a lot of time shoveling to clear the work site,” President Mike Peterson says. “We developed the snow removal tarp for contractors to lay down when snow was predicted so the next day, they simply attach it to a crane to remove 7,000 pounds of snow in one swoop. It’s that efficient.”Sugarhouse info box

For the past 30 years, Snow Shield has been a small portion of SugarHouse’s business, more a niche product that only a few knew about and loved. It wasn’t until 2010 that the company became more proactive in marketing its snow tarp, creating videos on YouTube and word-of-mouth advertising. “We thought if we got more aggressive and proactive, we could turn Snow Shield into a big part of the business and have been doing so for the past eight years, and demand keeps growing,” Peterson notes. “Snow Shield represents about 10 percent of our business today.”

Reliable and Safe

Widely imitated but never duplicated, Snow Shield continues to be the standard for quality and durability in the industry. SugarHouse has had the opportunity over the past 30 years to hone its techniques to determine exactly which materials and webbing to use, as well as how the stitching needs to be to make it the strongest, most durable tarp available. “We nailed it and others are trying to copy and catch up,” Peterson says. “It all comes down to our experience, workmanship, attention to detail and some trial and error over the years of learning what does and what does not work.”

Capable of lifting more than 7,000 pounds of snow and tested up to 9,500 pounds, Snow Shield has the highest strength in the market. “SugarHouse is serious when it comes to product safety and dependability,” Peterson says. “We have developed a product that will not rip or tear when lifted. Snow Shield tested well above 9,000 pounds, while our competitors started failing at 4,000 pounds.” 

To capture 7,000 pounds of snow overnight, SugarHouse calculated that out to be about 34 inches. “There are not many three-foot snow storms that happen overnight, but we are confident in our 7,000-pound rating that it won’t fail,” Peterson emphasizes. “For me, a big safety focus is about the employees’ safety in terms of what is the alternative to moving 7,000 pounds of snow? It’s guys with shovels, which is not good on your body or back, so let the tarp do the work and let the skilled craftsman do their craft.” 

Be Ready at First Snowfall 

Manufacturing Snow Shield was labor-intensive and time consuming, which was part of the reason the product remained a small portion of SugarHouse’s business. The company has since fine-tuned its production process, increasing efficiency and inventory. 

“That’s one of our biggest advantages, our inventory,” Peterson notes. “We make hundreds of them and keep them on the shelves so we are ready to go when it snows, while other companies are making them to order. The other guys tell you it will be a week for delivery, but when snow is predicted that night, a week doesn’t help the contractor. Our on-hand inventory gives us a huge advantage.”

Once snow is in the forecast, contractors want access to Snow Shields without delay. Snow Shields are readily available across the United States and Canada or can be shipped directly to the contractor. The company is also developing a network of wholesalers that will stock its product to ensure availability locally.

“In January we are exhibiting at World of Concrete in Las Vegas and that’s been a great tool for us to get the word out about our product,” Peterson says. “The first year we attended in 2016, we had a video playing in the booth of the Snow Shield in action and we were astounded by how many people walked by, stopped and said, ‘Wow, that’s a great idea’ and “Why have I not heard of this before?’ They were amazed this existed and don’t know how they survived without it. It’s been a great way to get the word out and exposure with users and distributors.”

In addition to its exceptional performance during snow storms, Snow Shields are also being used by contractors for other purposes including covering equipment and supplies to keep the rain off, to catch debris for roofers and more. “Snow Shields are versatile and can be used throughout the year for multiple purposes,” Peterson adds. 

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