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Pair of veterans land big contract at Home Depot

BY Brae Canlen

Two 40-year-old military veterans, boyhood friends who grew up in Bloomington, Ind., have sold a new antimicrobial product to Home Depot after developing it in a regional think tank, according to an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal. 

HomeDepot.com has begun carrying “Ultra 7,” a mold and bacteria killer and inhibiter meant to compete with Lysol, Microban and other sanitizers. Nate Richardson and Dave Parker, founders of Coeus Technology, took three years to develop and market the product, with some help from the other business park tenants at the Flagship Enterprise Center, a technology-based incubator created by Anderson University and the city of Anderson.

Richardson served in the Army (including a stint in Iraq) and Parker served in the Air Force before they met up again and began discussing the market for environmentally friendly antimicrobial products. They developed “mono-foil” technology, an alternative to the more commonly used triclosan, and launched the product in July through Home Depot, where anyone can purchase a quart for $12.97. Coeus, which is already profitable, has also been selling its product to janitorial firms and for use in textile manufacturing.

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Toro reports strong third quarter

BY HBSDealer Staff

Bloomington, Minn.-based Toro has posted third-quarter net earnings of $35.1 million, up 5% from net earnings of $33.4 million in the prior-year period.

Net sales for the quarter ended July 29 totaled $501 million, up 9% from net sales of $458.9 million in the third quarter of 2010.

"We delivered record sales over what was a good third quarter last year," said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. "Unfortunately, weather around the country slowed sales in our residential and landscape contractor businesses, and a disappointing walk power mower rework issue negatively impacted earnings for the quarter. Even so, demand for golf and grounds equipment around the world remained strong, and adoption of our micro irrigation solutions continued to grow, which helped drive strong quarterly results."

For the first nine months, Toro reported net earnings of $112.6 million, up 25% from net earnings of $90 million in the comparable fiscal 2010 period. Net sales for this period totaled $1.52 billion, up 13% from net sales of $1.35 billion in the year-ago period.

Professional segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $346 million, up 8.8% from the prior-year period. Residential segment net sales for the third quarter totaled $147.5 million, up 8.6% from the third quarter of 2010. 

Toro expects net earnings for fiscal 2011 to be approximately $3.60 per share on a revenue increase of about 10% to 12%.

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Sears Holdings posts net loss of $146 million

BY HBSDealer Staff

Losses at Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings Corp. widened in the second quarter ended July 30. The company’s net loss was $146 million, compared with a loss of $39 million in the same quarter last year.

Total revenues decreased to $10.3 billion for the quarter, down slightly from $10.5 billion for the quarter ended July 31, 2010. Kmart’s comparable-store sales were flat, and Sears Domestic comparable store sales declined 1.2%.

Sears CEO Lou D’Ambrosio said the company is not satisfied with the results. "We are taking actions to turn around our performance in a challenging economic environment," he said.

Among those actions were the launch of new products. D’Ambrosio specifically mentioned the 31-cubic-ft. Kenmore Trio refrigerator, "as Kenmore recaptured the leadership position in major appliances.”

The company also attracted new leaders, including CFO Rob Schriesheim and Sears marketing head Monica Woo.

Sears closed 29 stores during the second quarter — 10 Kmart stores, three full-line stores, 12 hardware and appliance stores, two auto centers and two The Great Indoors stores.

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