Richard Williams learned firsthand the importance of disinfecting surfaces after acquiring a staph infection during surgery in the early 1970s.
That experience, and other illnesses in his life, led Williams to study and research disease transmission, and eventually inspired the former Army Green Beret and 30-year health care executive to develop the first product of SafeSpace Co.
The process of research and development began in the 1990s, with the first product – a disinfectant and deodorizing fogger – released in 2005 with the launch of the company.
Now with a growing line of products, the Springfield-based, family-owned company is seeing leaps in revenue as the world becomes more aware of disinfecting and keeping germ free amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Williams says SafeSpace nearly tripled its gross revenue in 2020 from the previous two-year average.
Carley Joy, co-owner and director of sales, marketing and customer services, says the company’s 2020 revenue was about $750,000.
“This year has been our biggest growth year just because of the current need for disinfectants,” says Joy, Williams’ daughter. “We’re hoping this growth continues and people become more aware that they do need to disinfect, and not just in their main areas but areas that you wouldn’t think of where germs can hide. They’re great at getting into tight areas.”
Williams says SafeSpace was shipping an average of 700 cases of product per month, for a total of 8,400 cases over the year.
To keep up with the increased demand, the company expanded its small staff. Williams and Joy are the company’s only two full-time employees. There are two constant part-time employees and another seven part-timers available based on order volume.
“That was necessary just to keep up with the demand,” Joy says. “We hand-check every item that comes into our facility before it goes out.
“We were struggling trying to fulfill product with our current staff. We’ve just been putting in longer hours – we work later, we work weekends – we want to make sure we can get that product out.”
A new product
In January, SafeSpace launched its latest product – a disinfecting and deodorizing misting system – to replace the first product, which has been discontinued.
The misting system can be used on a variety of surfaces, but SafeSpace also sells an auto disinfectant mist as well as hand sanitizer. The new misting system sells in packs of six for $70 or cases of 12 for $130, according to the website, while the car disinfectant is $40 a pack and $80 a case.
The spray is an ultrafine mist that dries in about 10 minutes to treat surface germs on approximately 1,200 square feet, and a can of the auto spray can treat an average car about 30 times, according to company materials. The company claims its products are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and kill emerging pathogens, including COVID-19.
All products are manufactured by Brenham, Texas-based Quest Specialty Corp. then repackaged at SafeSpace’s Springfield headquarters before shipping to customers. Calls to Quest Specialty Corp. were not returned by press time.
SafeSpace products are only sold online via the company’s website. Joy says local retailers previously sold the products, but it wasn’t the right fit for the company.
The company sells nationwide to health care facilities and other commercial clients, as well as direct to consumer. Schools and child care centers represent the largest customer base, Joy says.
Company officials declined to name local clients, but Joy says they include law offices, grocery stores, trucking companies, health care clinics and schools.
Joy says the frequency of orders varies based on the client and how much they order at a time. Some order monthly while others may order on a yearly basis. Joy says the company next plans to expand the product line by adding disinfecting wipes, which will also become part of its Germ Fighter Kit. Due to the company’s already increased business, Joy says she and Williams aren’t rushing to expand their product line too much at once.
“After that, we’re really unsure where it’s going to take us. But we’re really excited,” she says.
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