South Charlotte

Local firm markets sanitizer without alcohol

Hand sanitizer will be on many back-to-school lists, and a Matthews company is offering its alcohol-free version to individual consumers for the first time.

Clift Industries Inc., a family company founded in the late 1970s under a different name, was "green before green was cool," said Matt Barnhill, director of marketing.

The company, which has about 90 employees, has sold a hand sanitizer with all-natural ingredients to hospitals and other commercial institutions for several years.

"So many people were saying, 'I wish I could buy this in a local store,'" Barnhill said.

Clift Industries sent a sample to Harris Teeter and got a call back from a manager.

"He took a risk on us and put us in (the stores)," Barnhill said.

Harris Teeter now carries Pure Earth Naturally hand sanitizer in all its stores, in 1.7-ounce and 7.1-ounce sizes. It's the only Clift Industries cleaning product available to individual consumers.

The hand sanitizer is on the first-aid aisle, and the smaller size works well for purses and backpacks, Barnhill said. Customers have said they like that it doesn't have an alcohol odor and that it doesn't dry their skin.

Barnhill said alcohol-based hand sanitizers do clean well, but they extract oils from the skin and can create problems with repeated use. Pure Earth Naturally Hand Sanitizer's active ingredient is thyme oil, which naturally kills germs and bacteria, Barnhill said.

"Previously it was alcohol-based or nothing," Barnhill said. "There is a safe, effective alternative to what's on the market."

New store

Run For Your Life, a local company that has sold running and athletic gear in the Charlotte area for 22 years, has opened a fourth store in SouthPark.

The newest Run For Your Life is in Sharon Corners across from SouthPark mall, and it's open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays. The store is closed Sundays.

The business' other locations are in Piper Glen, the University area and Dilworth.