COMPANY: Chrome Products, dba Anti3 Protect Series
FOUNDED: April 2012
FOUNDERS: Dean Spinato, Christopher Ferrara
EMPLOYEES: 4 full-time, 2 part-time
PRODUCT: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial products
FUNDING SOURCES: Self-funded
MAJOR CHALLENGES: Building widespread distribution
PRODUCT STATUS: Available online and in limited retail outlets
Behind every small-business success is a big idea.
In the case of Chrome Products’ Anti3 Protect Series, the concept was both big and simple: Many people exercise in public gyms and the mats, weights and other equipment they sweat and struggle with are breeding grounds for germs. So, keying on sanitizing strategies used by many hospitals, entrepreneurs Christopher Ferrara and Dean Spinato developed products they say will clean up health clubs, lacrosse sticks and every stitch of athletic equipment in between.
The co-founders of Jericho-based Chrome Products (dba Anti3 Protect Series) came up with their idea in April 2012 and officially launched their products in June. Their body washes, disinfecting sprays, laundry detergents and dry-wash foam sanitizers, among other products, are available at nearly 40 Long Island stores – including Hockey Underground in Farmingdale, East Coast MMA in Rockville Centre and Law MMA in Garden City – and online at Amazon.com and on the firm’s website.
Under the motto “cleanse, defend and prevent,” the company also sells directly to schools in Manhasset, East Islip, Islip, West Islip, Cold Spring Harbor and Bay Shore, while the Washington Capitals National Hockey League team, various NFL players and mixed martial arts fighter Chris Weidman – who wrestled for Hofstra University and owns Law MMA – are also on board.
“We’re using hospital-grade solutions,” noted Ferrara, the company CEO. “If it’s good and safe enough to clean a surgical room, we should be able to give you the same quality of cleaning in your office, schools and athletic facilities.”
The founders are both athletes with long experience in the gym. Spinato played ice and roller hockey; he also wrestled and played lacrosse at Commack High School before founding Islandwide Roller Hockey, a roller hockey league based out of Skate Safe America in Old Bethpage.
“We were exposed to contact sports,” said Spinato, the company president. “They never had a good sanitizer or disinfectant to kill the bacteria.”
So he and Ferrara decided where there was a need, there was a niche. Ferrara, who had been a wrestling coach at West Islip High School, earned a degree in exercise and health science at Hofstra University before going into medical sales, working for the North Shore-LIJ Health System and Quest Diagnostics.
“Over the years, historically, they always used bleach,” he noted. “And bleach has been proven to be not the most effective. When we saw the need for the product, I used some resources and met with a chemist to develop the product.”
A New York City chemist created the formula, a bottling company in Kentucky bottled and labeled it and Anti3 Protect Series stores its products in a Ronkonkoma warehouse. The firm has registered its “anti-microbial and anti-fungal” products with the Environmental Protection Agency, and since the company doesn’t make any medical claims it doesn’t require Food and Drug Administration approval – not that bringing the product to market has been easy.
“The labels have to read correctly, so you don’t misrepresent yourself,” Ferrara noted. “The tedious part of bringing this product to fruition was making sure the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed.”
The founders have long days, but they believe in their company and their cause.
“When you blink your eyes, it’s 8:30 at night,” Ferrara noted. “But we enjoy the people we’re selling to and engaged with.”
“Stress comes with owning a business,” Spinato added. “But if you believe in the product and what you’re selling, it’s fun … and the sky’s the limit.”