Duluth Man Finds Freedom In Trivits

By KBJR News 1

July 24, 2011 Updated Jul 25, 2011 at 12:29 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - Tonight, Dave Anderson has the story of an entrepreneur that doesn't let a wheel chair get in the way of his dreams.

43 year old Hibbing native Brian Bentley moves slowly but purposely.
His body doesn't respond rapidly to his brain's commands due to cerebral palsy.

"I've had it for 43 years since birth. I don't know any different from this," said Bentley.

Over the years, Brian has relied on the kindness of others for many things.

Volunteers built him a wheel chair ramp back in 1995.

"People with ordinary skills can volunteer their time and effort and make things better for everybody."

Now living at Transitional Senior Housing Assisted Living, Bentley also believes in making things better for one's self.

He makes and markets tile and wood coasters and hot pads called trivits.

"I was at sidewalk days in downtown Duluth a few weeks ago and I sold a lot of stuff there," said Bentley.

Trivits are also sometimes found at a variety of places like doctor's offices and radio stations.

The pads are only a small part of Bentley's entrepreneurial bent.

Earlier this year, he helped the Viewcrest Home start a general store featuring items hand crafted by residents.

Brian's body may be bound to a chair but his mind is unbound when he forces his hands to work.

"I make the best of my life I can and I do a lot to keep busy and keep myself alive," said Bentley.

Brian Bentley's trivits are made from half inch plywood and grouted tile and range in size from four to ten inches.

He says they can protect your dinner table from any steaming hot dish you can dish out.