It seems like every large corporate manufacturer of household cleaners now offers some version of a green or natural cleaner. For most of them, an eco-friendly cleaner is just one of hundreds of products they produce to answer to a segment of consumer demand in the market. Extreme Kleaner, a multipurpose cleaner available online and at some True Value Ace Hardware stores in Madison, has a very different story.
Its parent company, Extreme Energy Solutions (EES), was founded by four men that shared a love of amateur stock car racing. What started out as experiments with reducing auto emissions and developing more eco-friendly products and technology for cars led to an entrepreneurial idea for Sam Burlum, current president and CEO of the company, who graduated with a degree in business management from Berkeley College in West Patterson, New Jersey
“We realized that the skills we were applying to test race cars were transferrable,” remarks Burlum. “We co-created the SMART Emissions Reducer, which could be installed on almost any automobile.” The partners started a company in a two car garage and also formulated a fuel additive, Extreme Fuel Treatment, to lower emissions and increase power.
EES began consulting for companies seeking sustainable solutions and developing eco-friendly products. After doing research and development for one of them, Extreme Kleaner was formulated, and the young company merged with EES at the end of 2010. “We improved the product and brought it to market in the middle of 2012,” says Burlum, who believes that most of his business knowledge has come from learning by doing, not just business school.
“Extreme Kleaner became available online in 2013 and was listed on Amazon.com and KeepAmerica. com last year,” he notes, adding that the production and ingredients of the proprietary formula are all sourced in New Jersey, where the company is based. True Value and Ace Hardware stores throughout the Midwest and Northeast are the product’s latest retail outlets. In addition to the current multipurpose cleaner, Burlum says the company plans to introduce a glass and more formula.
The mission of EES is to provide environmental and economic sustainability through innovation that redefines incremental savings. According to Burlum, the company’s products provide a return on investment or at least break even. With Extreme Kleaner, only one product is needed to do the job of five different cleaners and when environmental costs are added into the picture, the savings are even greater.
EES donates a portion of its sales each year to causes including veterans, environmental advocacy and awareness and event sponsorships, especially those involving education. Burlum often talks about business, entrepreneurship and green technology at local universities.
“No matter what the product or service is, there is a base recipe for bringing to market,” explains Burlum, adding that green businesses usually incur higher costs upfront, but eventually catch up and surpass those that take shortcuts.