Couple turns setback into new company
Date posted: August 16, 2013
SHERIDAN — Two Sheridan home improvement stores started carrying a product this week that was invented by a local resident.
Ken Huckeba is the inventor of MelkeN WeatherGuard, a fascia-like sealant used around garage doors, side jams and headers, which is now on shelves at Bloedorn Lumber and Knecht Home Center.
Huckeba is a 30-year veteran of the construction industry. Several years ago, he was afflicted with a debilitating and life-threatening autoimmune disease that forced him to take time off of work.
When he was well enough, Huckeba used his recovery time to learn about starting a home enterprise, attend workshops and reinvent his business aspirations.
His wife, Melissa Huckeba, said they chose MelkeN WeatherGuard among his many ideas for invention partly because it seemed to be a relatively inexpensive start-up business. After a prototype gained a favorable appraisal from the couple, they pushed forward into full-scale production.
The convertible weather seal consists of a powder coated aluminum frame with a replaceable rubber strip. Melissa Huckeba said the inspiration for the product came from years of construction experience coupled with disbelief there was not a better product on the market.
“The other product on the market now is a foreign product that’s cheaply made,” she said. “It’s put on a million dollar home or a tract house. It’s all there is.”
“He wondered for years why someone didn’t come up with a better quality trim,” Huckeba said. “That’s what he’s done.”
Since the launch of the new product that’s been close to a year and a half in the making, the husband/wife duo have converted their garage into a small export center where they box their product to order for shipment. Ken Huckeba is also back on his feet performing installations of his product on home remodel and construction projects.
The pair are taking a firm stance behind their product, emphasizing a lifetime guarantee and unparalleled quality along with the “green” perks of an efficient weather seal, such as reduced energy costs.
“We’re determined to see this through to success,” Melissa Huckeba said.
For her, success means keeping production as close to home as possible.
“We’ve had offers from connections in China and we’re absolutely not going to go that route,” she said. “This will be exclusively made in America, which will ultimately provide American jobs.”
MelkeN WeatherGuard’s current manufacturer is based near Salt Lake City, but the Huckebas said hopes are to establish a manufacturing business in Sheridan.
Modifications of the new trim are also available in magnetic form for refrigerator seals and brush-type barriers for roll-up doors.