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      Elephants, zebras, and cheetahs help local business boom

      A Northern Michigan company that does very unusual business is growing at a rapid pace, adding jobs, and winning awards.

      It is not often you get an elephant in the mail, but if you work at H and H Fur Design in Reed City, it happens all the time.

      Mark Marlette the president of the company says, "They come to us rock hard from Africa. Back in that box is an elephant; there are hippos, and rhinos, all different types of animals. It is amazing this type of work comes to us."

      The commercial tannery has seen sales more than double for the past three consecutive years earning them the title Mid Michigan's Small Business of the Year. The company recently added three employees to the payroll and up to ten more people will be hired by December.

      The hides come from places like New Zealand and Africa. Hunters pay up to $80,000 for a license to kill these exotic animals and pay thousands more for the taxidermy process.

      The company also works very closely with Card Wildlife Education Center at Ferris State University.

      Marlette says the key to his success is not giving up during difficult times, learning from mistakes, and doing what you are passionate about.