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24


THE WEIRS TIMES & THE COCHECO TIMES, Thursday, December 29, 2011


DELICATESSEN MEREDITH CENTER STORE


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 


 


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 


 


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 


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Rokon owner Tom Blais with Gen. John Abizaid and US Ambassador to Jordan David Hale with a Rokon Desert Ranger.


ROKON from 23


Nethercutt, owner of the Merle Norman Cosmetics, created Nethercutt Indus- tries to produce Rokon “Trail-Breakers.” These two wheel drive wonders caught the imagination of many. Power to both wheels in a lightweight yet strong frame design gave riders nimble and versatile traction off road. In 1963 the company


was purchased by one of its dealers, Orla Larsen, and moved to Wilmington, Vt. Larsen renamed the company Rokon and was responsible, along with Jim Fowler, for its appearances in the Wild Kingdom TV series. In the mid 1960’s the


company was purchased and moved again to Keene, where its production ex- panded. Blais, a Rhode Island na-


tive who summered in New Hampshire and earned his


Rokon Ranger in the showroom at Rokon International in Rochester.


ROGER AMSDEN PHOTO


degree at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, bought the company on December 18, 1991 through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Man- chester. Over the last 20 years


he was able to revive pro- duction, moving it first to Portsmouth and later to Pease Tradeport, before moving it to Rochester in 2001 after rents nearly doubled at the Tradeport. “It was always my goal to


live in New Hampshire and own my own business,’’ says Blais, who worked at the State Street Bank in Boston where he special- ized in overseas investment and later served as CFO for a number of New Hamp- shire corporations before buying Rokon. He says that his wife,


Heidi McIntyre, who is an See ROKON on 25


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