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2020 Economic Impact Awards Entrepreneur of the Year: Trent Freeman, Pure & Clean LLC

Mister Clean

Posted online

Entrepreneurship is in Trent Freeman’s blood.

The CEO of Pure & Clean LLC says he comes from a family of business owners, and that fueled him to start his own company in 2014 after seeing a need to create nonharmful disinfectants for athletes.

“That really shaped me, not only as a person but as a business owner,” he says. “I saw the opportunity and potential to make your business what you want it to be with hard work and dedication from my parents.”

Since then, the company’s reach has grown to offer cleaning and disinfectant products geared toward first aid, wound care, infection control, personal care, home and athletic use. Freeman says the products use hypochlorous acid, or HOCl, a chemical that naturally kills bacteria and reduces infections — and sales have been through the roof amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Though he declined to disclose current sales, Freeman says revenue so far in 2020 is up roughly 960% from 2018, when he last disclosed annual revenue of $350,000.

Surface and hand cleaners have been popular items over the last few months, and Freeman says he doesn’t foresee the demand slowing down anytime soon.

“Businesses have to be open at some point, and parts of the country right now are looking at pulling back again to where they have more restrictions,” he says. “I think it’s a new normal with people’s consideration of how they’re going to clean things and disinfect homes and businesses.”

Freeman says competition has grown heavy recently with lots of interest in the hot market.

“Everybody and their brother are trying to jump into the market,” he says. “It’s muddied the market with a lot of companies and products that can be dangerous, harmful and can cause confusion for the consumer. The (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) and (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) are working on tracking them down.”

Freeman says the surge in sales beginning in March forced the company to outsource its fulfillment of optometry and ophthalmology products as well as other product lines, and because of factories shutting down for months on end, it’s become difficult to source bottles and sprayers for their products.

“It’s changed our mindset as a company. Before, we could call 10 different vendors and get what we needed … now getting those things overseas in this time is pretty unpredictable,” he says. “We’re looking ahead to the future and asking, ‘What do we need to be prepared for? What items do we need to stock up on?’”

Currently, Pure & Clean products are available locally at several Walgreens stores and CoxHealth pharmacies. The company also sells its products to CoxHealth, Mercy, other area hospitals and various skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. For the last four years, Pure & Clean products also have been used at the NCAA wrestling championships, and before COVID-19 hit, Team USA was planning to take the cleaning products to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.

Freeman says the company is planning to expand its athletic disinfectant sales through digital marketing, and he has his eyes on markets in Central and South America, the Middle East and Asia.

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