The a-ha moment a Tampa office furniture company sought for an air purification system it’s selling was elusive in 2021. It’s determined to get there in 2022.
If 2020 was the year the world turned upside down, then 2021 was the year we attempted to recover and re-evaluate.
‘Every time we go someplace, we have to pull out our peer-reviewed published studies just to prove our efficacy and get our foot in the door. As more and more people see the data and they want to make a difference in the indoor air quality of their facilities, it’s going to be important.’ Bill Adams, Reimagine Office Furnishings
It was the year many office-workers wondered first when and then if they would ever return to the physical building. Creating a safe place to work with clean and purified air was a big part of that equation — and that’s why Tampa-based Reimagine Office Furnishings banked on 2020 and 2021 as the time to get in on the air purification market.
When ROF became an authorized reseller of Synexis, a Lenexa, Kansas-based biotechnology firm that sells microbial reduction systems for commercial spaces and residential homes, president Bill Adams was anticipating an “a-ha moment.” Although the company has seen continued sales in the months since, he is still waiting for the telltale shift and acceptance of Synexis as the best product in the air purification space.
“We’re still in the education phase. We’re looking for early adopters into our technology,” he says. “Every time we go someplace, we have to pull out our peer-reviewed published studies just to prove our efficacy and get our foot in the door. As more and more people see the data and they want to make a difference in the indoor air quality of their facilities, it’s going to be important.”
The past year also forced Reimagine Office Furnishings to revisit their business model once again. In 2020, revenue grew from $18 million in 2019 to more than $20 million. But at the end of 2021, Adams puts the company’s estimated revenue at $17 million. He attributes that decrease to a COVID-19 revenue stream that faltered — selling screens and brackets to divide workspaces, which accounted for about 40% of 2020’s sales. This year, the screen business has “virtually gone away,” Adams says.
ROF’s central mission — selling remanufactured office furniture — has rebounded, meanwhile, accounting for about 80% of overall business, up from 50% in 2020. And Synexis’ growth remains to be seen, only making up about 20% of the company’s total 2021 revenue.
Still, Adams is hopeful.
“I would predict in the next year and a half that we will have that a-ha moment after both Synexis and ROF work to educate and get more units deployed,” he said. “That’s what we have to look forward to.”
While progress on selling Synexis products has been incremental, progress has been made. The company recently installed Synexis units in a Boca Raton restaurant with mold spore counts so high it wasn’t safe to enter — they’ve already reduced mold levels by almost 99% in the air. They’ll soon begin to deploy Synexis units in the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s evidence room and information technology department.
Data showing Synexis’ efficacy has gone a long way toward boosting new sales. A recent study proved that the company’s dry hydrogen peroxide technology eliminates almost 100% of COVID-19 Delta variant viral load in the air within 90 minutes, according to Synexis.
As 2022 looms on the horizon, Adams has explicit goals in place for Synexis: increase revenue from the air purification products by 50%.
“We’re looking for that big deployment,” he says. “We want a big project where we can cover 500,000 square feet or 1 million square feet, and we think that’s entirely possible this year.”
Sales of residential units are also increasing. For the first time, customers are coming to ROF solely through Facebook or Twitter marketing for residential air purification systems.
“It’s one at a time, but we probably are selling residential units every week,” Adams says. “As the word grows, people will realize it’s very helpful for those with allergies and indoor air quality issues.”
In 2021, many companies discovered new ways to adjust to the pandemic. These nimble entrepreneurs believe that know-how — and guts — will be a key factor for continued success in 2022. Click the links below to read more about the Business Observer's 2021 newsmakers.
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