December 2004 – Telegraph Journal
Prelam getting whiff of success
Moncton company hopes toilet freshener will be the next big thing among its air-care products. Moncton – Two Moncton entrepreneurs hope to make a big splash dealing with a subject thatʼs generally taboo. Luc Jalbert and Don Goguen, owners of Prelam Enterprises Ltd., expect their ʻJustʼa Dropʻ product will “which the way people go to the bathroom” by eliminating unpleasant smells.
The new product line, which involves squirting a drop of the pleasantly-scented solution in the toilet bowl prior to use, eliminates both odors and the need for other air fresheners, bathroom fans or even the humble match.
“Itʼs an embarrassing situation for everybody,” Mr. Jalbert explains during an interview at his firmʼs west-end office where the companyʼs five employees work. “It has a neutralizer that actually kills everything while youʼre going about things. This saves the embarrassment.”
Prelam, which competes against international heavy-weights like S.C. Johnson and Procter & Gamble in the air freshener business, will unveil its new product line at the large-scale Grocery Innovation trade show in Toronto on Monday.
“Itʼs fully biodegradable, safe for your septic tank and non-toxic,” Mr. Jalbert says, noting the product, which he first came across during one of his frequent business trips to China, uses plant extracts.
Wal-Mart has also already signed on to begin carrying the product early next year and the pair hopes to entice other stores across the country to begin carrying the product.
Contunue…Mr. Goguen points out that the small bottle also comes with a travel case, meaning you can bring it anywhere from sports events and house parties to business meetings and the office.
The two men started developing, importing and selling air-care products after a tumultuous couple of years when it seemed every product Prelam had was impossible to get to market without an exorbitant and unaffordable price-tag.
“But if there was one thing we learned from the tough times, it was that in order to be successful Prelam had to have products that consumers could identify with and want over and over again,” Mr. Jalbert says.
The latest product is made in China, but Mr. Jalbert says he makes sure the factories treat workers well. Things really got going for Prelam which was incorporated in 1999 and until this week also did lamination work, about two years ago. During a market trip to Hong Kong, Mr. Jalbert happened upon an innovative car air freshener and realized he might be on to something big.
He brought in a supply to Canada and test marketed it with retail operations like Irving gas bars, Jean Coutu and Shoppers Drug Mart. Mr. Jalbert says the air fresheners proved to be an immediate hit and now the company is Canadaʼs premier air freshener company rising to number four in sales in a very competitive sector.
Prelam now has brokers throughout Canada and warehouse facilities in Moncton and Brampton, Ontario.
“The big guys have 3,000 people working for them in research and development, weʼre just two guys,” Mr.Jalbert says. “our goal is to become very strong in Canada and then penetrate the U.S. market.”
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