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Fat Profits?
By Bill Barol

(FORTUNE Small Business) – Demography is destiny. Just ask Tim Barry, 53, a weight lifter and self-described "big guy" (6-foot-1, 385 pounds) who took notice of Americans' increasing obesity--up 74% since 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control--and hatched the idea for an online purveyor of extra-capacity scales. (Standard versions max out at 300 pounds.) It wasn't all seat-of-the-pants, though: "I researched every major retail chain," Barry says. "As of my last check, not one of them stocked a scale with a capacity above 350 pounds." Not so at Barry's scale-IT.com, which offers 15 plus-size scales, ranging from a 400-pound-capacity home-bathroom model ($49.95) to a 1,000-pound unit suitable for clinics ($269.95), in stock and ready to ship. The site promises discretion as well as selection: "If you need a high-capacity scale, nobody else needs to know." --BILL BAROL