NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- The Barred Rock Fund -- a non-profit venture fund established by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream fame -- recently acquired Sun & Earth, a line of natural, non-toxic cleaning products based here. Cohen told SN he intends to use his distinct brand of marketing finesse to satisfy a growing demand for products with a social conscience.
The goal of the fund is to invest in companies that are creating quality jobs accessible to people living in low-income communities, while helping to provide equity ownership to company workers. According to Cohen, this particular venture will reach consumers on many levels.
"The product cleans just as well and it is not harmful to the environment or people or pets," Cohen said.
In addition, consumers will feel they are part of the effort to rebuild communities, he said.
The previous owners of the company targeted traditional supermarkets from the line's inception, and Cohen hopes to build on the products' mainstream presence. Sun & Earth is currently available in several large Northeastern chains including Giant, Shoprite and A&P.
Cohen is working on a marketing plan that includes new FSI graphics, radio promotions and, of course, a huge washing machine rolling down the streets of Boston.
Bernie Rogan, spokesman for Shaw's Supermarkets, West Bridgewater, Mass., has seen consumers take a definite interest in safer, cleaner, ecologically sound products in Shaw's stores, evident in the success of the chain's Safe Science product line, which is no longer being produced.
"If customers can turn from a national brand product to a product that is safe and effective, they recognize this as a major plus," he said.
Shaw's currently carries three Sun & Earth stockkeeping units and the products sell well. Rogan said he looks forward to the line's fresh marketing efforts.
"Ben's genius is going to bring this cause to another level, much the same as his success with Cherry Garcia," he said. "If he can bring that to the cleaning aisles of our stores, we would welcome it."