Mike, a graphic designer, and his wife Lynn, a commercial photographer, soon found their weekends dominated by handcrafting rain barrels. “It really was just kind of a labor of love at that time,” says Ruck. By 2000, the couple sold over 300 barrels in one weekend and were eventually able to quit their day jobs and begin producing their own rain barrels, made in America, from 100 percent recycled plastic. Rain Water Solutions was born.
“When we first got into this, we used to just see the conservation types,” as Mike Ruck calls them, “water geeks” like themselves. But erratic weather like the recent years’ droughts have made people more keen on keeping rain barrels at home, and water quality standards are pressing towns and cities to better manage their runoff when storms do hit. Rain Water Solutions sells to homeowners and commercial land owners who can have barrels shipped directly to their door, but primarily to municipalities—and there the company fulfills a vital (and profitable) role.