ALBANY, Ga. -- Eight years ago, Mark Grimaldi was looking for a business-friendly city to locate his nascent Equinox Chemicals, Inc. He found that location in Albany.
"We were looking to find a niche in the chemicals industry where we would have the ability to be competitive in the global marketplace," Grimaldi, Equinox's president, said. "One of the keys to that competitiveness is being located here in south Georgia."
Equinox is a custom organic synthesis research and manufacturing company dedicated to delivering superior quality products on demand. The company specializes in the preparation and design of organic molecules and offers a wide range of synthetic services servicing government, R&D, pharmaceutical, food, flavor, fragrance, industrial coatings, polymers, semiconductor, alternative fuels, and specialty chemical sectors.
In the eight years since, Equinox has expanded into more than a dozen foreign countries and in 2009 was honored as the "Small Business of the Year" by the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.
Despite a tenacious recession, last year Equinox doubled its business and Grimaldi said he expects that to double again in 2011. The Johnstown, Pa., native says the company's success is due in large part to superior customer service, innovation, talented people and Albany's small business environment.
"Albany is an incredibly small business-friendly city," Grimialdi, 38, said. "The local agencies here bend over backwards, they are really here to help. The cost of capital, cost of living and doing business is much more conducive here than say in the northeast."
Grimaldi says Equinox's latest partnership is with Rynex, a breakthrough in green dry cleaning technology.
The Rynex formula is a gentle cleaning agent that allows fibers to retain their natural moisture using earth friendly chemistry. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, and has no hazardous air pollutants. It is the only alternative dry cleaning solvent in the market that is efficient, ecologically friendly and economical.
"We are launching the product world-wide right now and ramping up our marketing," Grimaldi said. "It (Rynex) is going to be a big product for us. It's a green, safer and cheaper dry cleaning chemical. It's a perfect marketing scenario and is really poised to take off this year."
As the company has grown and its reputation has spread, Grimaldi says he fields several calls a month from people wanting to bounce new product ideas off of him.
"Usually it's only one of 50 ideas that we decide to pursue -- Rynex is the latest." Grimaldi said. "It's incredibly difficult to bring a new product to the market. It takes huge amounts of money and time and usually takes about three years to go from concept to product."
Another reason Equinox has thrived and grown over the past eight years is because of the company's diversity.
"We are so diverse, we service so many different industries that we don't specialize in one particular area," Grimaldi said. "This is why we've hardly noticed the recession and have continued with basically the same rate of growth for the past few years."
And it's been an enjoyable, steady ride for the company and its young president.
"I am absolutely having the time of my life," Grimaldi said. "I am fortunate to be surrounded with a really great team and they are the real reason for our success. If you surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and provide quality products with excellent customer service, it's a great combination."