It’s a family affair at Pure & Clean LLC.
The Nixa-based distributor of medical and athletic disinfectants and sanitizers is run by the Freeman family, with company founder Trent Freeman as CEO.
“From the beginning it was a family business and all the family members are owners,” he says.
His father, Kent, is executive vice president, his mother, Laura, is chief financial officer, and his brother, Ryan, is vice president.
The family has a background in wrestling with Trent and his brother formerly participating in the sport at Kickapoo High School and at the collegiate level.
Trent Freeman, also a coach with the Springfield Youth Wrestling Club, started looking for a nontoxic product that could be used by young athletes.
His search ended when Trent’s father-in-law, a general trauma surgeon at CoxHealth, told him about a certain chemical compound and what it could do.
With a focus on hypochlorous acid, the idea for Pure & Clean was born.
Chemistry in action
The company specializes in wound-care products, hydrogels and disinfectants for the medical and sports industries.
Pure & Clean’s products use hypochlorous acid, a naturally occurring chemical in the body produced by white blood cells.
It’s an oxidizer, which removes the natural qualities of pathogens to prevent mutations.
“It’s been around for a long, long time. The issue has always been stability and making a solution that can maintain its integrity on a microlevel,” Trent Freeman says. “Originally, it was less than a couple of hours. Then it would convert back into a salt and water solution. That’s always been the issue and still is today.”
The company’s products kill bloodborne pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile and Staphylococcus, and its solutions hold its hypochlorous acid form for 18 months.
“C. diff is one of the toughest things to kill in the hospital setting,” Freeman says. “Even a lot of these toxic products that we use – ammonium chlorides and things like that – they won’t kill it. There’s only a couple things out there that can.”
Pure & Clean sports sprays are used for wrestling mats, helmets and other equipment, lockers, weight rooms and artificial turf.
“On the sports side, our skin defense is our premier product that athletes can use directly on the skin after a fight, after a wrestling match or football game, whether you get turf burn, get scratched or whatever,” Freeman says.
The chemical compound is used by other companies for different products, like Nixall for home, office and animal products.
“Nixall is obviously a local product and is made at the same manufacturing facility where ours is made,” Freeman says.
“They don’t really focus on health care. They do more for animals.”
Kent Freeman says Aire Master of America Inc. bottles Pure & Clean’s products, and McKesson Corp. (NYSE: MCK), MedLine Industries and AmerisourceBergen (NYSE: ABC) handle nationwide distribution to retailers like Walgreens.
Pure & Clean is partnered with sports organizations, such as USA Wrestling, the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and the Indoor Football League.
“We were introduced to them by the Iowa Barnstormers,” says IFL Commissioner Michael Allshouse. “Someone on their training staff had a relationship with Pure & Clean.”
The IFL uses Pure & Clean’s sports spray for turf care, skin, helmets and other equipment, Allshouse says, and the company provides the league with a one-year supply at the beginning of each season.
“We’re in the second year of the agreement,” Allshouse says, adding it was signed in October 2017.
Pure & Clean’s products range from $14 for a two-ounce bottle of wound cleanser to $400 for an eight-gallon case of disinfectant and sanitizer.
In another venture, Pure & Clean is planning to be heavily involved in the vision industry.
“We’ve recently launched some products into the eye care markets,” Trent Freeman says. “On that side, we’re looking at a partnership with a very large organization that we can’t get too much into with nondisclosures.”
He says the product would target chronic dry eye and epidemic keratoconjunctivitis.
The company recorded $350,000 in 2018 sales, but officials are projecting between $5 million and $10 million this year based on new products in development and expected partnerships.
To plan for the company’s projected growth, the Freemans brought in Bernie Dana, a former Evangel University Business Department chairman, to help with strategic planning and establish processes for sales orders and other structures.
“It’s amazing the number of private label things that are starting to unfold,” says Dana, the chief operating officer. “It’s an expansion of the wholesale. The one thing that can’t be revealed yet is the biggest contributor to that.”
Freeman cites U.S. Food & Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
If the 2019 sales projections are met, officials have drawn up two sets of facility expansion plans. One is for additional space on the second floor, and the other is for building a brand new facility nearby on West Kathryn Street, Kent Freeman says.
The company is looking to hire right now.
“We’re immediately going to hire some administrative help,” Dana says.
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