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Edmonton man wheels and deals to turn paper clip into tool trailer for his business

He started with a paper clip and after completing a series of trades, Kenton Zerbin was able to acquire a tool trailer he needs for his business. Kim Smith/ Global News

A knack for making deals along with a little patience has seen an Edmonton man turn a run-of-the-mill paper clip into a tool trailer for his business.

Kenton Zerbin runs KZ Permaculture, which is aimed at teaching people about sustainable living. He didn’t build the tool trailer out of a paper clip. Instead, he traded it for bigger and bigger items until two years later, when he finally acquired the trailer.

“So I started with a paper clip [and] got to a Bic pen,” he told Global News on Monday. “Bic pen to [an] electrocuting pen. Traded the electrocuting pen for a sudoku book and that for a pitchfork. [I] traded the pitchfork a little edging machine, edging machine for a little chest freezer, chest freezer for a tablet, tablet then for a snowblower, snowblower for a quad.
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“And today, we’re doing the final trade,” he said. “[I’m] trading the quad for the tool trailer.”

Zerbin said he got the idea after hearing about someone getting a house in Saskatchewan after swinging 15 different trades. He said he heard that person also started with a paper clip.

READ MORE: $185 likely won’t buy you a Prada bag, but it will buy you a Prada paperclip

“I thought,’ Well, why don’t I give this a whirl and see if I can get to this tool trailer that we need?'”

Zerbin said he plans to use the tool trailer for flash mob-style endeavours he undertakes that he calls “permablitzes.” The permablitzes are aimed at creating “edible spaces,” or gardens people can use to grow their own food.

“The public shows up, [we] put tools in their hands and transform the space in a day,” he said. Most recently, Zerbin’s permablitz saw an edible space created on the grounds of Edmonton’s Brander Gardens Elementary School.
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WATCH MORE: Kenton Zerbin drops by Global News Morning Weekend Edmonton to talk about the growing demand for tiny homes.

Zerbin got his tool trailer on Monday night and said the process of getting it was a lot of fun.

“It’s kind of based off that whole idea of, you know, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure,” he said.

“Everyone who’s done the trades has been very excited to be a part of the project.”

Kenton Zerbin stands next to a quad he acquired after multiple trades beginning with a paper clip. Kim Smith/ Global News
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
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Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin
Courtesy: Kenton Zerbin

Zerbin said most of his trades were facilitated by using the online classified advertising service Kijiji. He said the secret to his success was being patient and always waiting for what was “clearly a bigger and better trade.”

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Zerbin said one of his next permablitz projects will take place at Lois E. Hole Elementary School in St. Albert and he hopes to have the trailer in tow for that project.