In the Beginning....
Powerlift Dumbwaiters, a family-owned and -operated corporation, was founded by the Reite family patriarch, John Reite, in 1972. Reite, a first-generation son of Norwegian immigrants, started selling his own design for garage doors in the mountains of Santa Cruz in 1957 as the sole proprietor of Santa Cruz Overhead Door, when he was approached to design and build the prototype of a residential elevator car for Waupaca Elevator.
John's experience made for an easy segue into designing his own patented dumbwaiter for residential and commercial applications, and Powerlift Dumbwaiters, Inc was born. The dumbwaiters were originally made of wood in a converted carport on the family's property. And over those first years, design revisions were made to improve the machines' performance and durability, load capacity and ease of installation. "The good Lord gives you ideas, and you just do it," says John. "Our design keeps the installation easy; anybody can put one together."
His work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit, passed on to his sons, has kept the company going strong for over 4 decades. With nearly 4,000 units purchased by homeowners and companies such as Kimberly Clark, American Licorice, Boeing, Ford Motor Co, Winchester, Maker's Mark, and Disney (both in America and China), Powerlift Dumbwaiters can be found on every continent and in approximately 40 countries around the world, a testament to our motto, "The smart way to buy a dumbwaiter!"
Our factory, nestled in the Georgetown Divide foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where the California Gold Rush began in 1848, is surrounded by history and beauty. Perhaps that's why John chose this place to raise his family. Georgia Slide, the largest in El Dorado County, had the highest total gold output of all the seam deposits, supporting pioneer families, a teaming community of mining camps, general stores, and lumber and real estate industries until about 1920, when most of the mining activity ceased on the Slide.
We love our Georgetown Divide, "above the smog and below the snow", separating the North and South forks of the American river, skirting the El Dorado National Forest and hidden about halfway between the Sacramento Valley and the breathtaking Lake Tahoe. You're welcome to come for a visit... it's a peaceful drive, and we'd love to give you the Grand Tour!