By Dillon Tabish, 3-15-12
||Caption: The CORE gasless power trimmer. - Contributed photo
Following recent price hikes and rumors of $5 per gallon rates by summer, gas is becoming even less popular than before.
That’s what has spurred Lincoln Jore and a team of engineers to devote almost a decade to developing an alternative to gas power, specifically in the outdoor equipment industry.
Two weeks ago, CORE Outdoor Power, a manufacturing company based in Polson, launched its first platform — a line trimmer, commonly called a weed trimmer, that runs on electricity and a lithium power cell inside a high torque rotary motor. The product began shipping nationwide last week. A blower and hedge trimmer are on the way this summer and a lawnmower is scheduled to hit the market in 2013.
All of the products are built around the company’s motor technology, aptly named CORE (Conductor Rotary Engine Energy). The trimmer runs electrically and emission-free and has the same “heft” and power as gasoline-generated machines, Jore said, minus the traditional drawbacks.
“Nobody likes to deal with any of the hassles of gas-powered equipment: the cost of gas; the messes; the oil,” he said. “Everything that goes with gas is kind of a hassle. That’s why we thought this is a good market to get into.”
The release of CORE Outdoor Power’s first product is a symbolic one. It represents a comeback for a family that made its name in the manufacturing world with one of the state’s most successful companies before falling into bankruptcy.
Lincoln’s father, Matt, founded JORE Corporation, which built power tool accessories. Based in Ronan, the company became a true success story, shipping globally and employing more than 300 people throughout the Mission Valley. The company’s annual revenues reached $45 million in 1998. However, in the early part of the last decade, the company declared bankruptcy in what was the largest of its kind in Montana history, according to the Missoulian, both by the number of creditors and the dollar value of claims. The Jore family lost management control to bankers in 2002.
“We lost JORE via bankruptcy and after that we got together and sat down and thought about what we were going to do,” Jore said. “We decided to look for new motor technology. We decided we wanted to build our own motor, a new type of motor.”
In 2003, Matt Jore founded Core Motion, Inc., an umbrella company that encompasses CORE Outdoor Power, of which Lincoln is the president, and Boulder Wind Power, which uses the same CORE technology for wind generation research. Core Motion now employs roughly 30 people.
Central Power Systems, a nationwide distribution company for outdoor power equipment, signed a deal to sell CORE outdoor equipment to dealers and retailers in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia and Florida.
“As non-gasoline powered products continue to gain acceptance and consumers continue to press for more efficient, quieter, cleaner technologies, CORE Outdoor Power is really at the forefront with a gas-less product that is comparable to pro-grade, gas-powered machines,” John Krueger, marketing director for Central Power Systems, said in a news release.
The distribution deal ensures the Polson company will stay busy as the demand for outdoor equipment peaks during the spring and summer. It also signifies a resurgence that’s been almost a decade in the works.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Jore said. “But it’s in our blood to be entrepreneurial and innovative.”
Jore said the company's products would be available locally at Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply and at Ace Hardware.
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