Made in Michiana: grocery cart cleaning system that keeps you safe
SOUTH BEND, IN.-- Our Made in Michiana series continues with a local business named Podell and Co. Incorporation.
You might not recognize the name, but if you have been to some Michiana grocery stores you have probably seen them in action.
They operate a grocery cart cleaning trailer that's revolutionizing a clean and safe experience for shoppers across Michiana and the rest of the country.
“It’s a true family business," says business development manager, Chris Podell. "You know I have an older brother and 3 younger sisters, so at some point they have all worked in the family business.”
For half a century, the Podell group has been focused on what's next in the industrial cleaning realm for their business and the local contractors they serve.
“We build industrial cleaning equipment for different niche markets across the country and in Canada," says Podell.
From spray guns to fully equipped cleaning trailers and other large scale cleaning machines--they were determined to get their latest cleaning fix off the ground at the start of the pandemic.
“Right about 18 months ago we started working on solving a problem for cart contaminates. And that really led us into building equipment at the start of the pandemic," says Podell.
A pandemic problem that brought to light issues in current cleaning protocols.
“The processes that are in place now, need to be better," says Podell.
Just using sanitizer wipes or spray disinfectants is not enough in the eyes of the CDC-- think of the current cleaning processes like this:
“Taking and doing your dishes and leaving the food on then just putting a sanitizer on top," says CEO of T George Podell & Co Inc, George Podell. "At some point you’ll want to get the crud off of them!”
Podell got to work tackling the issue-- then months and plenty of capital investments later-- the firsrt demo for the Healthy Cart System was born.
“It washes the carts, disinfects them and then protects them with an antimicrobial coating," says George.
Simply put, the healthy cart system includes four steps: clean, sanitize, protect and verify.
“We’re putting those carts through, we’re hitting those with 50 gallons per minute, thoroughly washing those carts clean, and then also infusing disinfectant with hot water, so we have a combination to help get that cart really clean," says operations manager Kevin Evans.
But where do the hundreds to thousands of gallons of water used go?
Well the water and disinfectant is actually reused! Using recycled wash water makes the whole process EPA compliant eliminating discharge into rain sewers and other waterways.
And once the carts are cleaned off and sanitized--they are left to dry.
“And at the end once it’s dried, we add an antimicrobial which helps to protect the surface," says Evans.
Think of the dry microbial shield as a bed of nails that doesn't loose sharpness for 30 days.
It's invisible, durable, dry, food and environmentally safe and effective allowing for a well rounded hot, wash, dry and cleaning combination that fights germs including the coronavirus.
“A combination that’s in line with what the EPA, the CDC, and the FDA are all saying that you want to clean and wash that surface come back and use the proper disinfectant, and then in our case we’re adding that third step of the antimicrobial," says Evans.
The Healthy Cart System was originally built for grocery carts.
“But really as you look you can put anything through the tunnel," says Evans.
Whether it’s wheel chairs or scooters or even maybe desks or stools from daycare centers or schools--the opportunities are endless.
“So our goal from the onset was to build equipment that would not only clean and disinfect, but protect carts but then find service contractors around the country that want to use this product to create a business," says Podell.
A new piece of technology that this business says will help streamline the grocery store experience.
“For the stores it will eliminate the people standing at the front there it’s a better method to do it," says George.
Joe Laureys owns Groceries by Joe in New Carlisle and he is happy that he signed on early.
“We just got to have it, it’s a plus plus everybody’s happy," says owner of Groceries by Joe, Joe Laurey. "The customers are happy, I’m happy, it take away a little of the labor for my people cause it’s supposed to last for 25-30 days. It’s a plus plus for everybody.”
Satisfaction from one locally owned business to another.
“Always great to build product that helps people then helps the community," says Podell. "So I think this is a product that is needed not only during the pandemic but even after the pandemic is something a practice that should be implemented at stores.”
You can contact the Healthy Cart System team a few different ways.
Or you can call them at the T George Podell & Co Inc site: (574)-233-9111
Location: 23146 W Ireland Rd, South Bend, IN. 46614