Written by Kelly Stincer.
Though many cleaning products claim to be “green” or “all natural,” they may not be as safe as you think. Those supposedly “natural” cleaners can contain harmful, unregulated ingredients. ALC Innovations in Columbus, Ohio, is working to address the issue. The company has developed a multi-surface cleaner made entirely of plant-derived ingredients, designed to meet the tough cleaning and safety standards of restaurants and hospitals.
“Chemists at The Ohio State University did an analysis on the cleaners I was using in my restaurants and my home that claimed to have no harmful chemicals, and found that was far from the truth,” said Chris Crader, founder and CEO of ALC Innovations. “We decided to throw all the products away and replace them with the ALC Innovations cleaner.”
Crader worked closely with The Ohio State University Technology Commercialization Office to develop the product. He says it’s the first-ever that polishes and cleans while also being completely non-toxic, making it ideal to use around food. The cleaner is made with only a handful of natural ingredients that cut through fatty lipid substances, and can be used on several surface types, such as wood, glass and countertops. In addition to restaurants, ALC Innovations plans to market the product to schools, hospitals and eventually households.
Crader has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years and owns Grow Restaurants, LLC, which includes Columbus locations like Harvest Pizzeria, Salt & Pine and The Sycamore. He didn’t want his employees handling harsh chemicals, so he searched for an alternative but says finding a safe, restaurant-quality cleaner was a challenge. After developing the natural formula with Ohio State, he started ALC Innovations in June 2015 with a goal of replacing all chemical substances regularly used in restaurants.
ALC Innovations was awarded a $100,000 Technology Validation Start-up Fund grant from Ohio Third Frontier, which allowed the company to design their packaging, hire legal advisors and explore manufacturing options. The company also worked with Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier, to complete a licensing agreement with the university and finalize the production process.
Crader says ALC Innovations will begin manufacturing soon, and says the resources available to startups in central Ohio have made it possible to launch their product. He says local organizations, entrepreneurs and the state government have come together to embrace startups and foster innovation for the economic good of the region.
“We have manufacturers and distributors lined up in Ohio,” said Crader. “It’s helpful for us to have the tools we need to succeed here, and through that success we’ll be able to create jobs and contribute to the local economy.”