by Kathryn Korchok
Who: 2XL Corporation is a privately-held company that was founded and is currently owned and operated by a husband and wife team, the creators of the first GymWipes and CareWipes products. Because they were determined to be excellent at what they were doing, they named the company with a play on the words “to excel.”
What: 2XL is a leading manufacturer of cleaning, maintenance and wellness products for fitness, spa, healthcare, food service (including restaurants, grocery and retail stores), education, military, garages, manufacturing, janitorial services, concerts, workplaces, the hospitality industry (every Hilton worldwide carried 2XL products) and consumer environments. 2XL makes and distributes antibacterial and sanitizing wipes and related products, such as stands, dispensers and foams. It prides itself on manufacturing its products in the U.S.A.
When: The company was founded in 1997 and has since grown to more than 20 employees. The original product was an 80-count container called “Quikee GymWipes,” which sold for $35 at small trade shows. The company grew through word of mouth, visits to fitness centres, small-scale advertising and direct mailing. A year later, a large container of GymWipes/CareWipes with 600 wet wipes was developed as a fitness industry first and was introduced at a large trade show in Florida. Today, with more than 25 main products, the company is a multi-million dollar operation with global sales and distribution.
Where: Headquarters is in Forest Park (near Chicago), Illinois. Additional locations are in California and Utah.
Why: With their business and accounting backgrounds, the duo originally created and sold a product to clean laser printers and fax machines. They then imported a European product used to clean and wipe phones and keyboards. Combining that idea with a cleaning product long used in the dairy industry, and responding to a gym member’s inquiry about keeping fitness equipment clean in a safe and non-toxic way, the pair had its “aha” moment and GymWipes was born.
“A lot of innovation has come from feedback from our customers,” says company spokesperson Linda Giammanco.
She points out that in the fitness field GymWipes outperform sprays, which require the user to also use a paper towel. And sprays can damage expensive cables, glides and electronics. Also, because GymWipes are non-toxic, non-irritating and non-abrasive, they are as safe to use on vinyl, metal, rubber, upholstery and LCD/plasma screens as they are on skin.
Linda notes that 2XL has recently responded to the medical industry by developing wipes without bleach for infection prevention, staph prevention and superbug prevention.
Another huge market for 2XL is the janitorial supply industry.
“The company vision is to be innovators in areas where its products can tap into areas that need attention and then forge a pathway into new markets,” says Giammanco. She points to new products such as BodyWipes and FoodWipes as innovative answers to customer needs. “We want to offer the best wipes and dispensing solutions for almost every problem and need on the planet.”
Kathryn Korchok is a journalist whose work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines in Canada and the U.S. She specializes in health, fitness, lifestyle and business writing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.