Why use Secure Winter Prodcuts? 

Ice Wars

Ice Melt Wins Coveted ISSA Innovation Of The Year Award

When winter strikes, virtually all cleaning professionals are concerned about icy sidewalks and the liability of someone slipping and falling.

They are also concerned that what they put down to melt the ice will be tracked into their buildings, leaving unsightly and even damaging residues on carpet and hard floors. Entry®, a product of Branch Creek, offered through Secure Winter Products, could be the answer.

As the world moves toward safer and more environmentally friendly products, Branch Creek and Secure Winter Products is taking the lead. This company is known for researching and developing organic solutions for the soil in the agricultural, commercial, residential, and golf industries. Branch Creek is committed to creating earth-friendly alternatives.

Enter Entry, the first 100% chloride-free de-icer. This greener, residue-free, liquid formula is much safer for surfaces and the environment and clears outdoor surfaces rapidly of ice and snow before slips and falls can happen. Entry melts ice, snow, and worries—without the mess of salt.

The creation of Entry

Nate Clemmer, CEO and founder of Branch Creek and Secure Winter Products, says, “We work with a large number of landscape contractors who, in the winter season, manage snow and ice. As a result, we have used our plant assets that would normally be making liquid and granular fertilizers into making liquid and granular ice melts.”

Over the years, landscape customers would often ask for product options that would reduce damage to metals, not kill grass, harm pets, etc. Clemmer adds, “We listened to these requests and ultimately created the product we know as Entry.”

The right fit

But once Branch Creek created the product, sales did not go as smoothly as they had hoped. For the first two seasons that Entry was on the market, the same landscaper contractor customers who asked for it were not buying it. Clemmer relates, “We were close to quitting on Entry when we decided to attend some trade shows that catered to facility managers and building owners. As soon as we started talking to this audience, we began to hear things like, ‘I have been looking for a product just like this,’ or ‘Why did my landscape contractor never tell me about this?’”

From that point, they focused on facilities. Today, 90% of traditional ice melt products are sold to landscape/snow contractors. The flip side is that 90% of Entry sales are to facility managers and building owners.

Other challenges

The creation of Entry came with other challenges as well. First, because it is a seasonal product, the company does not have the ability for continuous improvement.

“We have essentially nine months to plan for three months. If we do not make an incremental improvement in the winter months, we waste a year and in the early stages, could abandon the innovation, ” Clemmer explains. “The best comparison I can make is to a child who spends an afternoon setting up an entire table of dominoes. The goal is for the final domino to drop off the table into a cup on the floor. After all the preparation, the child knocks down the first domino. The result could be a domino in a cup, or it could be a failure after a small portion of the dominoes drop. You don’t know what you have until you try, and if you fail you do not get another chance for another year.”

Secondly, the ice melt industry does not have regulatory oversight. Subsequently, Branch Creek and Secure Winter Products had to bring to market a product that had integrity and could be a beacon of hope in the industry, providing a product to address real concerns.

Clemmer is especially proud of the fact that Entry earned Green Seal® certification, the only de-icer product, he says, to do so.

And last, but not least, they had to ensure that their product was not the only thing that was innovative. Clemmer explains, “A product can be innovative, but if nobody wants to use it or sell it, you really have not innovated.” As a result of this reality, Branch Creek and Secure Winter Products developed application equipment that makes the use of Entry better than ripping bags and applying ice melt with salt spreaders. “We created battery powered sprayers that have broken down the walls of staff that do not want to change. When we combine a better product with a better process, we call that ‘innovation squared.’ We also had to develop a distribution model that would attract top tier companies to support Entry.”

The ISSA impact

Branch Creek and Secure Winter Products work with an array of trade organizations across the variety of industries they support. But their experience with ISSA has surpassed all of them by a considerable margin.

“ISSA’s Cleaning Management Institute helped us understand the unique challenges that ice melt tracking creates for the custodial staff,” says Clemmer. “The ISSA marketing team was instrumental in helping us understand how to speak the language of facilities.”

Entry was the top winner in the ISSA Innovation Award Program at ISSA Show North America 2019.

Growth and reaction

At this moment, Branch Creek and Secure Winter Products only offer Entry for sale in North America. International expansion is being considered for the second half of 2020. With that in the works, and despite the less-than-normal winter weather in North America, they are as busy as they can handle.

“The end-user and distributor reaction has exceeded our expectations. Customers are thrilled to have an alternative to the mess and damage caused by traditional products,” claims Clemmer.

Melt With Less Mess

Drawbacks of traditional ice melts create demand for cleaner products

Using traditional ice melt brings a trade-off: In exchange for surfaces that are safe and no longer slippery, you’re left with residue from chloride granules. This residue is tracked inside, creating a winter scene you won’t see on any holiday card: Foyers and entranceways covered in unsightly ice-melt particles.Unlike most other winter weather inconveniences, this messy ice-melt residue has a serious potential for harm.For starters, there’s the cost, effort, and hassle of cleaning it up—a burden felt acutely by facility managers and operating budgets. Add up labor, equipment, and supplies, and the cost of special cleaning can reach $50 to $60 per entranceway per storm event, according to Mark Warner, Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) education manager for ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association.Warner points out that with two to three entranceways and two to three cleanings per day during a storm, the added cost of cold weather-driven cleaning can often exceed $400 to $500 per day per building.Adding insult to injury, ice melt is typically applied most generously in high-traffic places, where the risk of slip-and-fall accidents is greatest. As a result, the biggest residue messes are in full view, taking a psychological toll on pedestrians, patrons, and passersby. Image-focused restaurants, campuses, office complexes, and hotels don’t hold the same appeal when their entranceways are awash in ice melt tracked in from streets and sidewalks. What’s more, the particles themselves can create new slip-and-fall risks.

These drawbacks point to the need for an ice melt that works cleaner, without residue. Designed to meet this need, cleaner products are beginning to appear on the market, offering high performance without tracking.

Understanding why these products are considered cleaner starts with understanding how traditional ice melts work. Chloride-based ice-melt solutions are hygroscopic, meaning they attract moisture from the atmosphere. When they are tracked indoors, they melt, creating dampness and puddles. The result is a cloudy solution that leaves streaks or white crystalline residue on carpets, flooring, and mats—which won’t disappear no matter how many times you clean them.

This reality has fueled a recent spike of interest in ice-melt products that are residue- and chloride-free and have a neutral pH, which are critical characteristics for cleaner melting.

Despite these recent breakthroughs, old habits die hard. No one expects building managers or residents to stop using granular salts altogether anytime soon. However, some professionals like Warner believe that the greatest net results come from a combined use of traditional ice melts and cleaner alternatives. As a cleaning management educator who trains other supervisors, Warner suggests that building managers opt for chloride salts for surfaces farther from building entrances, such as sidewalk perimeters and in parking lots. For areas within 50 feet of a building, it is suggested to use a liquid chloride-free ice melt that won’t track. For example, don’t throw any granular material close to the entrance where people walking into the building would track ice-melt residue inside.

Using cleaner products closer to the building will also create labor savings. In the end, this is a way of increasing the appearance and the safety of buildings and properties while reducing costs.

All Secure Winter Products

Granular Prodcucts 

Liquid Products  

Liquid Entry