A Collier County business creates 'hair spray for mulch'
"As Reported by Naples Daily News"
You never know when or where inspiration for a new product will strike.
Michael Hoggatt's big idea hit him when he was walking down Duval Street in Key West and noticed how the rain had caused the mulch around the trees to spread all over the sidewalk, creating an unsightly mess. Hoggatt, 59, thought someone should invent a product that holds mulch in place and lets the water flow through. That someone ended up being him and the product is EnviroHold.
EnviroHold is an environmentally safe, nontoxic water-based adhesive that locks mulch, pine straw, gravel and sand into place while allowing water and nutrients to flow through. EnviroHold, which sprays on milky white and dries clear, forms a nonpermanent bond that stabilizes the top layer of ground cover from the effects of wind, rain and erosion.
"It's like hair-spray for mulch," said Peggy Hoggatt, 57, chief financial officer of EnviroHold, Inc., 160 Tahiti Circle, Suite 301, Isles of Capri.
"You can put it on as heavy or as light as you need it."
After his trip to the Keys, Michael Hoggatt, a former industrial and commercial chemical salesman, started experimenting with different types of glues in his Naples garage. He realized that he didn't have the skills to create the formula he needed, so he hired some commercial chemists as consultants before finally hooking up with a retired 3M adhesive chemist.
"We got the formula the way we wanted it and were up and running," recalled Hoggatt, president and CEO of EnviroHold. That was back in 2009.
In 2010, EnviroHold incorporated and in 2011, the family run business started selling its product to consumers on the Internet. Once they started attending landscape, horticultural, golf, and hardware store trade shows, the business really took off.
"The response was incredible," Hoggatt said.
Today, EnviroHold has a broad customer base, including individual homeowners, landscape companies, municipalities, colleges, parks, and golf courses.
Dan Martin, assistant superintendent at The Club at Mediterra, said they recently started using EnviroHold on the pine straw curb strips along the sides of their golf cart paths.
"We really like the results that we've seen thus far," Martin said. Using EnviroHold saves on man-hours because they don't continually have to go out and sweep the straw into the beds, Martin said.
Steve Garnevale, facilities director at Pelican Isle Yacht Club in North Naples, agreed.
"It saves a lot of man-hours of cleanup after storms and rain."
He has tried non-floating mulch, but likes EnviroHold because it locks the mulch together and makes it almost like a carpet.
"With this stuff, it stays in one piece," Garnevale said. "When you go to pull it out, you just pick it up and throw it away."
In addition to holding gravel, straw and dirt in place, EnviroHold can also extend the life of mulch and other types of ground-cover. Hoggatt said EnviroHold has built-in ultraviolet protection, which both preserves and lengthens the life of wood. Depending on the climate and how it's applied, EnviroHold can last anywhere from six to 12 months.
EnviroHold is sold in nine states through Ace Hardware stores, as well as online. Some big box stores are also testing it and the Hoggatts are hoping to take their business nationwide in 2012. In Southwest Florida, EnviroHold will be carried exclusively through Sunshine Ace Hardware stores starting this month.
The stores are between Bonita Springs and Marco Island.
EnviroHold is sold both ready-to-use and in a concentrate form that mixes with ordinary water. The most popular seller is a 1.5-gallon six-liter ready-to-use sprayer that covers up to 1,500 square feet and has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $29.99. The second most popular product is the companion two-liter concentrate refill that retails for $19.95. Internet prices are slightly higher and do not include shipping and handling. Large commercial and industrial sizes are also available.
According to Hoggatt, sales for EnviroHold are higher than expected and orders for 2012 are already up more than 500 percent from this year.
Having already retired and returned to work twice, Hoggatt plans to get the business up and running before handing it over to his grown children, who are all currently working for the company. Son James Hoggatt is vice president of business development and oversees the EnviroHold Operations Center in Jacksonville. Daughter Tracy Hoggatt moved from Illinois to Naples to become the director of sales and Mmarketing. And daughter Jaclyn Hoggatt works part-time as regional and local sales manager.
Hoggatt said his college-educated children have all inherited his strong work ethic and he feels confident that the company will be in good hands as it grows.
Jerry Ellis, landscape manager at Lely Community Development District, has tested EnviroHold and is so impressed, he plans to use it in many of their mulched, sloped and easily washed out areas: "He's got the best product I've seen so far."
Martin said he always wished someone would make something like EnviroHold and that he would definitely recommend it to any golf course, landscape company, or homeowners that have areas that require a lot of upkeep.
As reported by NaplesNews.com