Supplier Spotlight: Jelmar


October 30, 2017

When homeowners hear the name CLR, the green, orange and yellow label on the silver bottle immediately comes to mind. Most may not realize, however, that CLR is the product of more than 50 years of household cleaning innovation by the Gutterman family – beginning in 1949 with Manny Gutterman selling products to drug, hardware and department stores.

Today, the Jelmar company is known for nationally recognized brands like CLR and Tarn-X, the number one selling metal cleaner in the United States. As the company has grown and transformed over the years, it’s passed through three generations of Gutterman family members to its current CEO, Allison Gutterman.

The company certainly has a legacy to be proud of; let’s take a look:

  • 1949: Manny Gutterman establishes Manny Gutterman & Associates, Inc. – a national sales representative organization, which sold proprietary products to drug, hardware and department stores
  • 1967: Tarn-X® Tarnish Remover is introduced under the recently established Jelmar company
  • 2005: Jelmar introduces first products reformulated to meet EPA Safer Choice Program standards
  • 2007: Alison Gutterman becomes the third-generation president and CEO of Jelmar 
  • 2017: Tarn-X celebrates its 50th anniversary                              

We sat down with Allison Gutterman to learn more about the company’s start, and the courage and confidence required to keep the family business thriving for more than 50 years.

Supplier Snapshot: Jelmar

Jelmar, LLC had a rather interesting start, tell us more about that:

In 1967, my grandfather’s friend sold him a warehouse in Skokie, Illinois full of cleaning products that he received in a barter from a bankrupt client. So, my grandfather seized the opportunity and in partnership with my dad, Arthur Gutterman, and my uncle, Steven Gutterman, reformulated and repackaged the abandoned product. They sold it as Tarn-X® Tarnish Remover, and thus they officially initiated the Jelmar company.

Tell us about your partnership with The Home Depot.
Home Depot has always been interested in showcasing environmental stewardship since we started in the supplier pilot program. It demonstrates their commitment to environmental sustainability and concern for the products they sell impact their consumer’s daily lives.

50 years in business is an accomplishment. Are there any keys to success that you can share with other smaller companies?

The keys to success are courage and confidence. The main advice I would give anyone is to have the courage to develop their idea if they’re passionate about a new product or service, and to have confidence in themselves and their decisions. Avoid negative thinking, or as I like to call it, “head trash,” and defend your thoughts and ideas, despite the nay-sayers.

See Alison Gutterman, Jelmar’s CEO, discuss the company’s successes and challenges throughout the Gutterman family’s nearly 70 years in business.

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