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One for the birds

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Apr 12th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Features

Scott Tarras with the Feedsavr feeder. Photo submitted.

For reasons that seem unfathomable, feeders have been made for squirrels. Ask any avid birder and they’ll tell you that there’s always one pesky squirrel, if not a rebel gang, that makes off with a cheek full of prime bird seed, leaving the poor birds to scavenge what’s left. And in this neck of the woods, deer pose just as much opportunity for frustration as they belly up to the bird seed buffet. Many attempts to deter, halt, and even send the intruders flinging through the air have been made, but with little success. All the while, the seed is devoured or scattered and to the buyer, money lost.

Rushford native Scott Tarras has felt the ire of backyard intruders. “I was frustrated with feeding the deer and the squirrels in my backyard, other than the birds, not to mention being tired of all the broken chewed up bird feeders.” Those irritations ultimately lead Tarras to work out an idea for a long-lasting feeding system that would actually feed the birds and just the birds.

The concept for the Feedsavr began in the fall of 2009 after the Tarras family suffered multiple setbacks, first with Scott’s wife Brandee being laid off in January from her graphic design job and Scott being laid off from his position as a pressman at a small print shop a few months later. With persistence, the family opened WonderInk Printing in Rushford and Scott soon after began tinkering with his pet project.

“We thank the Good Lord every day for the blessings we have. As hard as it was at the time when we lost our jobs back in 2009, God had a plan for us,” says Scott. “If not for losing our jobs, we would not have WonderInk Printing and the Feedsavr would have just stayed one of those ‘wouldn’t this be a good idea if’ thoughts.”

The Feedsavr has gone through many changes and challenges. Tarras estimates that over the course of the first two years, he worked through upwards of 20 prototypes. At that time, the initial efforts were fabricated in his garage with purchased machinery and parts. By the spring of 2011, Tarras was comfortable enough with the product to patent pend and market test it at Rushford Hardware.

The market test was highly successful and Tarras proceeded with manufacturing of the feeding system. Since, it has garnered national attention in publications like Fur Fish and Game (March 2013 issue) and will be highlighted in the May 2013 issue of Birds and Bloom. Locally, you can now find them at any of the Farmers Elevator Co-op locations, Labrador Home and Garden Center in Rushford, and at other small retail outlets. It is currently on the verge of being brought into the larger retail market.

Tarras acknowledges there have been particular roadblocks to seeing the product to completion. “Finding the right investor to help bring the product to manufacturing and market was a challenge at first. You need to find the right fit for you and your product.” Initially, Tarras had visions of opening a manufacturing plant in the community. “Unfortunately, the cost to do so greatly outweighed the profit,” he notes. Tarras partnered with Jenlis, a product development company that focuses on establishing and building brands in specialty markets.

The center of the Feedsavr is three, sturdy, yet lightweight 14 gauge aluminum pole sections which stand up to 12 feet in height when fully assembled. A carriage on an ejection molded sleeve with brass inserts is raised or lowered by pulley for ease of filling, including handicap accessibility. Powder coated steel hangers will hold up to three feeders, but options are available for more. A zinc plated squirrel deflector tips unwanted visitors from the frame. Out of the box, it takes minutes to assemble and it can be set up in a yard or mounted to a deck and will withstand rugged weather conditions. It retails for $129.95.

“Everyone loves the Feedsavr,” Tarras adds. “No deer or squirrels can reach your bird feeders. The money you save on birdseed and bird feeders alone pays for it in less than one year.”

For more information about the Feedsavr, see www.feedsavr.com or contact Tarras at Scott@wonderink.com.

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