• WisBusiness

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GreenBiz: Oxi Fresh cleaning up Fox Valley carpets

By Gregg Hoffmann
Jeff Meixelsperger has had an interest in the environment going back to his Boy Scout days, before the term green was used for anything but naming the color.

So, when he was looking for yet another franchise business to start, he gravitated toward Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning, a carpet cleaning franchise that emphasizes environmentally safe products and procedures.

Meixelsperger recently opened a franchise in Green Bay and eventually plans to move south through the Fox Valley.

"I have the rights for the territory and want to expand to Appleton, Oshkosh and eventually Fond du Lac and other communities in the region," he said.

The Oxi Fresh web site says its system uses oxygen rather than large amounts of chemicals and steam, and uses pile-lifting technology that pulls dirt and oils from the bottom of the carpet rather than pushing it into the carpet.

"Most systems use 30 to 40 gallons of water. We use two to three gallons," Meixelsperger said. "One of the benefits of that is that the carpet is dry in an hour rather than a day.

"The solutions we do use are safe. People don't have to worry about burning their feet when they walk on it. It's safe for pets and kids. When it ends up in the storm sewers, it also is better for Mother Earth."

Oxi Fresh is listed as one of the fastest growing franchises overall in the country and the fastest growing in the carpet cleaning industry. It has more than 235 local companies in 45 states. In addition to what Meixelsperger is creating in the Fox Valley, there are franchises in Madison and Milwaukee.

Meixelsperger himself has ties to Madison, having worked as a materials manager for SSM Healthcare, which has St. Mary's Hospital in Madison and seven other hospitals in the state.

"While I was there, I served on a Preserve the Earth Committee, through which we tried to develop energy and environmentally efficient practices, from using re-usable coffee cups to reducing medical wastes and how we cleaned our facilities," Meixelsperger said.

So, that gave him exposure to green cleaning methods. He then started a franchise business called Pump It Up, an indoors kids' party facility which still exists in Madison.

That company had 28 employees and had more than 200,000 kids come through its doors in the years Meixelsperger owned it.

He sold that company when his wife accepted a job in the Green Bay area. For about a year and a half, Meixelsperger spent his time building a timber frame home in Forest County. Then, he started looking for another franchise business.

"The fact I had success in a franchise was another factor in starting another franchise business," Meixelsperger said. "The Oxi Fresh philosophy and approach to cleaning was another. I wanted to do something that helped Mother Earth."

Oxi Fresh was ranked 135th in Entrepreneur Magazines Franchise 500 this year. They were also featured in Inc. Magazine's Inc 500/5,000, a listing of the fastest growing, privately held companies in the U.S.

The carpet and upholstery cleaning services sector is a $5.3 billion industry.

-- Hoffmann has written many columns and features for WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com over the years. He will write the GreenBiz column monthly. -- Hoffmann is a veteran award-winning journalist and author. He writes the GreenBiz column monthly for WisBusiness.com .

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