DENVER (CBS4)- In April, the owners of Denver-based Friction Labs were afraid the coronavirus pandemic would put them out of business. Three months later, they had their best sales ever.
COVID-19 forced the company that makes climbing chalk to go out on a limb and make a hygienic liquid chalk. Climbers rely on athletic chalk to keep their hands dry for a better grip.
Climber Doug Rundle is partial to the new product called Secret Stuff Hygienic.
"I think it's some of the best liquid chalk on the planet," Rundle told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
The manufacturer, Friction Labs, was started by co-workers and climbers Keah Kalantari and Kevin Brown.
"For any athlete that needs a good grip," said Brown.
Business was good until the company took a tumble because of the coronavirus.
"It was hard not to panic," said Kalantari. "Businesses closed, gyms closed. REI, one of our biggest customers, closed their stores."
The pair needed a new approach and they realized it would have to include hygiene.
"Let's create something that gives people a great grip and keeps their hands clean," said Kalantari.
In 10 weeks, they developed Secret Stuff Hygienic liquid chalk.
"It's essentially a hand sanitizer that's also chalk," said Brown.
It consists of 80% alcohol. It was tested by CU Anschutz researchers, climbers themselves. It was proven to kill the novel coronavirus.
"They were growing coronavirus and they found that it performs similar, if not better, than hand sanitizer at killing the coronavirus," said Kalantari.
At the start of the pandemic, Friction Labs' chalk sales dropped 70%. After getting the word out about Secret Stuff Hygienic…
"We're up 20 % year over year from 2019," said Kalantari.
When asked if they think they are geniuses, Brown said, "No, we got lucky and we hustle."
Now that they've made their mark in hygienic chalk, the folks at Friction Labs hope their product will help gyms around the world get a grip on the pandemic.
LINK: Friction Labs
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