Local

New Whatcom company wants to build a better belt

Mike Howe of Magna Tactics shows off his new belt with a magnetic clasp in Bellingham, Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
Mike Howe of Magna Tactics shows off his new belt with a magnetic clasp in Bellingham, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Mike Howe has been looking for an idea that he could build a company around and he believes he has found it with magnets.

Howe recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for his company Magna Tactics, which is making a magnetic latching belt. The magnet has a bulls-eye field of polarity that helps the buckle snap and stay in place. A simple push-and-twist unlocks the buckle.

The belt is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts who want to carry things on the belt, including a holster for a firearm, knife or a paintball gun. It fits in belt loops and also fastens together quickly, in a similar fashion to a car seat belt, Howe said. It is also strong enough to be used in a variety of situations that come up in the outdoors, like bundling and carrying pieces of wood for a campfire.

The funds from the Kickstarter campaign would be used to put in the company’s first big order and get it established.

Howe, a Western Washington University graduate, also participated in the school’s Vehicle Research Institute program. He now has a workshop just outside Bellingham where he has been designing and improving the belt.

The product will be locally made and available for sale online. Howe said he is also looking at possibly selling them at a couple of local stores. The retail price is expected to be somewhere in the $65 range.

Long-term, Howe’s goal is to get the company to the point where he can hire people, “and maybe inspire them to start their own company.”

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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