By Melissa Wagoner
Matt Jones knows a lot about cleaning products. President of Griffin Chem Solutions in Albany – a developer of industrial cleaning solutions – Matt is well versed in the market and the many ways it can be misleading.
“The problem is, there’s no standards on labels and marketing,” he said, describing the ways consumers are often led to believe products are environmentally friendly when they are not. “We assume it’s less of the bad stuff, but that’s not always true.”
Unless, he says, the product is from Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products, of which Matt is a part-owner.
“Wallowa Valley is where it was founded,” Matt said of the name. There the line of 10 high quality, earth-friendly cleaning solutions got its start.
“But to scale you need a sizeable space,” Matt said. So the business moved from the home of the company’s founder, Mike Harvey, to Griffin Cleaning Solutions. There Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products is now the majority of what is produced.
“It’s a better product for my employees to work with,” Matt said. “And it’s green and better than the products on the market.”
Initially offered through the bulk distributor, Azure Standard, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products has recently branched out, offering a custom “refillery” system that allows retailers to offer the company’s products in bulk.
“We didn’t want plastic jugs on the shelf,” Matt explained. “And most stores are already set up for bulk.”
Previously available in five Oregon locations and one in Montana, their refillery concept has now made its way to Silverton where Matt and his wife, Mandy, opened The Merc in a space adjoining the Silver Creek Strength and Conditioning – which they also own.
“We were like, we have this space and we have this product,” Mandy said.
But the store won’t be filled with cleaning products alone.
“We’ll also be stocking things I love and want to share with people,” Mandy continued. “We have bamboo toothbrushes, razors…” and of course the whole line of Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products in bulk.
“You can bring in any jar you want,” Mandy said. And there is the option of a Willamette Valley refillable bottle or bag.
“We decided to make our own plastic mold,” Matt pointed out, holding up a bottle of dishwashing detergent, “so we could put the word refillable,” embedded in the side.
Initially opening for limited hours – Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – the couple plans to expand their hours as business picks up and the product line increases.
“She’s going to fill this place up,” Matt laughed. “She’s got printouts and ingredients on all the products.”
“I want these shelves to be full,” Mandy agreed.
403 Lewis, Suite B, Silverton
Hours: 9:30 am – noon and 4 – 6 pm Thursday and Friday;
9 am – noon Saturday