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Clothes-drying racks

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Simbo Camara stays connected with his African roots through traditional music and dance.

He shares his heritage by making music with his mother-in-law, Debbie Ramsdell. He has his part -- and she has hers. Just like in their business -- Vermont Drying Racks.

The duo build solid wooden clothes drying racks. "Its a good way for us to connect," Ramsdell said.

Debbie runs the business side and Simbo builds the racks in his Bristol basement. "I like talk to myself when I'm working by myself," Camara said.

The idea popped up when Simbo and his wife Lynn -- who met in Africa -- moved to Vermont and didn't want to install a clothes dryer. Mom Debbie was on a mission to find an eco-friendly drying rack like she had used for decades. "I just believe in drying your clothes this way; I've been doing it for 30 years," Ramsdell said.

But finding a big enough rack proved to be a challenge. "They had this wood out in the backyard, so I said Simbo, why don't you try to make one" Ramsdell said.

A perfect fit for Camara because of his background. "I was a carpenter before in Africa," he said.

"I just thought other people were in the same situation," Ramsdell said.

The pine end pieces and birch dowels get milled in East Middlebury. The large racks cost $150 and the medium-sized ones are $125. "It's fun -- you take them out, hang them up; when you use the dryer you have to take them out and fold them right away with this; you leave them on the rack until you want to wear them again," Ramsdell said.

Reporter Gina Bullard: What do you like better, playing your drums and dancing or building drying racks?

Simbo Camara: I like them both -- it's my life.

A perfect pairing for a family business that's Made in Vermont.

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