The blue letters of the "Oxyfresh.com" sign are a familiar sight to anyone who has driven through Riverstone in the past 18 years.
That's because Oxyfresh was one of the first businesses to become part of Riverstone when the development was launched by John Stone.
No, it's not a carpet cleaning company — it's a North Idaho-born business dedicated to creating safe, effective and environmentally friendly products for pets and their humans.
And 35 years after it was formed, Oxyfresh is growing like never before.
"One of the coolest things is in November, the two largest dental distributors in the world picked up our product at the same time,” said Tom Lunneborg, vice president of operations. "It's amazing for us because they have global reach and they’re in every dental office in America."
Oxyfresh offers a line of more than 20 products that use a special ingredient to neutralize odor-causing germs and bacteria through an oxidation process.
"The company started around some dentists who got together and they had really strong chemistry background and they were trying to solve a problem," Lunneborg said, explaining that these dentists realized alcohol-related rinses were causing more harm than good for their patients.
"From that, they discovered chlorine dioxide. That’s our active ingredient — trademarked Oxygene," he said. "That’s the magic that goes through our product line."
Oxyfresh produces toothpastes, mouthwashes, cleaners, deodorizers, soothing dental gels and other USA-made items that promote health and nutrition in people and their animals. The company just received honors for its pet dental gel toothpaste, pet dental water additive and pet deodorizer from the Family Choice Awards, which recognizes the best products, services and resources for all members of a family including pets.
One of Oxyfresh's best-selling products, and a huge source of Oxyfresh pride, is the pet dental water additive.
"We are the first company to start this market,” Lunneborg said.
Oxyfresh pioneered a new way to fight bad breath in pets with this odorless, colorless solution that helps clean teeth and eradicate bacteria with just a capful at a time. It beats trying to brush your dog’s or cat's teeth, and has saved customers the cost of professional cleanings.
"As soon as it comes into contact with the bacteria, about 60 seconds later it’s rendered inert so it doesn’t cause any harm,” Lunneborg said. "We’re taking some of the same science that’s used to purify our municipal drinking water, so it’s safe to consume — we’ve proven that for decades — but if we can just do this little easy step every day, within three to four days, the dog or cat’s bad breath is totally gone."
The 10,000 square-foot Oxyfresh office in Riverstone serves as headquarters for the company, which is owned by Richard and Kimmy Brooke. Many of the roughly 20 employees have been with the company for several years, including Lunneborg, who started with Oxyfresh 23 years ago.
President Mariano Tellarini joined the company last June to help it grow to its full potential. It has been doing business internationally for years, but with Tellarini's help, Oxyfresh is soaring to new heights.
"One of the things I realized, or made the team realize, is that they were trying to build a brand, a company, alone," he said. "That is hard when you're a small company."
Tellarini said the challenge is to connect with the multi-billion dollar companies. He said he wants Oxyfresh to be able to add more value to what it’s presenting and build long-lasting relationships with those big partners.
That’s already happening as Oxyfresh is celebrating a new partnership with China and a $40,000 sale to Australia. The company is on track for a 40 percent growth rate this year.
"It doesn’t really matter how big or small you are or where your organization is based," Tellarini said. "With the right strategy, you can still attract multi-billion-dollar companies from anywhere on Earth and have fun doing so. Plus you get to live in an incredibly beautiful place like Coeur d’Alene!"