This week, we talk with Jonathan Pearlstein, Vice President of Plus Manufacturing, about the history of Soap Free Procyon. He shares the philsophy and mission behind soap free cleaning, as well as the passion and vision behind the company.
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Well, first of all, let’s I want to thank you for the opportunity to share some of the back story about Procyon and its founder and what brings Bob Plaster and me, Jonathan Pearlstein, as the successor owners to this point in time where we are carrying on the process, on tradition.
First of all, so everybody knows, Ivan Day, the founder of the company, started making Procyon almost 40 years ago. Ivan had a long history as a carpet cleaner. He was a simple man. He only had about an eighth grade education, but he had a PHD in people, he really cared about people. He was a square shooter, liked to educate people. And he was very concerned about people’s health. And I can go into more about who Ivan was on future podcasts. But the important thing to know is this. Bob and I are both cousins of Ivan, Bob by blood, me by marriage.
And I first met Ivan, in about 2000, while I’ve known him for almost 30 years. I started working for him with Procyon about 15 years ago. I’m a recovering attorney and I have long done the corporate work and the business negotiations with Ivan. And back in about 2007, I traveled with Ivan. The ISSA show in Las Vegas. One of the largest cleaning products and equipment shows in the whole world. Fills the entire convention center. I was there to negotiate with some distributors and suppliers when I came home from those three days in Las Vegas.
But I was really struck by was the tremendous character and the passion that people in the cleaning industry bring to what they do. Everybody from the suppliers of solutions, the equipment suppliers, but most importantly, the end users, the people that are out there serving clients in their homes, cleaning every day. And it occurred to me that this was a recession proof business. No matter what’s going on, the economy, things get cleaned every day. Schools, hospitals, office buildings and people’s homes.
Now, Ivan was like a John the Baptist of the green cleaning industry. He was passionate about the fact that volatile organic chemicals in the air VOCs were harmful and that people should not be putting or introducing harmful chemicals into their home or their work environments. And so that’s why it was so important to him. That Procyon was completely natural, using food grade ingredients, things that are used actually in processing food. People would often be stunned at shows when we would literally spray the solution in our mouth because there’s nothing we don’t suggest.
People do that, by the way. You can taste it. But please don’t be drinking it. But it is stunning because most people wouldn’t would decline. Even touching them in a chemical solution will be sprayed in our hand because we’re so used to everything being so dangerous. It’s ironic that cleaning chemicals have often until present day are exempt from disclosing their ingredients. So Ivan was very passionate about this.
I came home at a time when we were just about to plunge into the Great Recession that struck us in 2007. And at the time, I was having breakfast every Thursday morning with a very good friend and we were trying to decide what type of business to start with our sons who were high school sophomores at the time. This is the week after I came back from this ISSA show and we were meeting at the local golf course. Actually, the people that owned it were some legal clients of mine. Wonderful family. And there we are, seven o’clock in the morning and the family comes in.
And I saw them bemoaning the fact that they were going to have to spend almost twenty thousand dollars replacing their clubhouse and restaurant carpet because it was just so filthy. I looked at Brian over bowls of oatmeal and I said, let’s start a carpet cleaning company. I went up to the car where I happen to have a bottle of Procyon’s wonderful spot and stain cleaner. And I brought it in and asked the family to get a couple of clean, white bleach, free towels.
And I simply sprayed the solution on the greasiest spot in the carpet right outside the exit from the kitchen and the grease hoods where you could not even see the color or the pattern of the carpet. And after about 10 seconds, I put down the bar rag and twisted my foot in it and bang, there was all the color and all the pattern. And they were so stunned that they asked me to repeat it three times that they looked at me and said, come clean our carpet, write us a quote.
I had to tell them Lex that I’d never cleaned carpet in my life. And we’d figure it out. And so I called Ivan Day and he told us what equipment to rent. And the reason that we were so confident, knowing absolutely nothing besides the simple instructions he gave us that we could succeed was there was really no downside. There was no harm that the Procyon products could bring to that carpet. Literally, if we had pre-sprayed the entire carpet and then decided that we were too scared to proceed. It would have just dried and the residues would merely be like a light salt and it would vacuum right out.
We are a residue free product. That is to say, when you use Procyon in your in your carpet or your upholstery, when you rinse there will be no residue. And this is what distinguishes us. The biggest thing that distinguishes us from soap and detergent products that no matter what you do, will leave some residue.
That residue is the problem. As Ivan used to say, carpets ugly out before they wear out? And the reason they ugly out is that people are using soap and detergents and it adheres to the fiber. I can start to wrap this up by telling you that Ivan was fond of explaining to people that if they’ve ever been in a hot tub and the jets go off and there’s bubbles that remain on the surface. Those aren’t residues from the jets. That is the residues of soap that is in all of our bathing suits when we launder them, because no matter how many rinse cycles you put it through, there’s always some soap left.
So over time, it causes dirt to adhere and it doesn’t just vacuum out. So when you’re using Soap Free Procyon, it reverses all that soap buildup and ultimately you will have to clean your carpets much less often because the dirt will merely vacuum out. At least, seventy five percent of it leaving your carpets clean, even between treatments with Procyon.
So to wrap up. I just want to tell you that the carpet cleaning business that we started is carried on by my good friend and he has become an absolute smash hit in the Seattle area. Once people have their carpets cleaned with soap free products, they don’t want to go back because there’s no odor, there’s no residue. You can be confident that when you’re stepping barefoot on your beautiful soft that you’re not absorbing any dangerous chemicals. And my friend Brian, who continues this business now is exemplary of the thousands of independent, wonderfully hearted, passionate carpet cleaners that are out there serving people that provide better health in their homes. And both Bob and I, as the proud successor owners of the Procyon brand, are absolutely committed to making sure that this product remains available for all of those people who are dedicated to it and all of the new customers and cleaners that we can bring the Procyon brand to.
We truly believe that it makes people healthier. It makes the earth healthier and all of our lives better.
Thanks for joining us this week on the Soap Free Podcast. Make sure to visit our Web site, SoapFreeProcyon.com, where you can learn more about amazing soap free cleaning products. Be sure to subscribe to the show in iTunes, Google, Spotify or iHeart Radio. So you’ll never miss a show while you’re at it. If you found value in this show, we’d appreciate a rating on iTunes.
Thanks so much for that effort. Until next time.
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