North Dakota Entrepreneur Earns National Recognition - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

North Dakota Entrepreneur Earns National Recognition

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If you put in the hard work, it'll pay off. Seven years ago, North Dakota entrepreneur Kari Warberg-Block invented a unique product that has since won local and national awards and was issued a patent. 

Great ideas run in her family. Kari Warberg-Block's father started the Superpumper convenience store chain. And in the mid-90's, a run-in on the farm with some mice encouraged her to create her own business, Earth-Kind.

It's based on the product Fresh Cab, the first and only rodent repellant to gain certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.

"It's a not a sexy business, but it's something very valuable to people. And 50 percent of the world struggles with rodents, yet 90% of all products sold to control rodents are poisons which are meant to kill. And there is a global need for what we do," says Kari Warberg-Block, CEO and founder of Earth-Kind. 

Next year, the company estimates a 300 percent revenue growth. And last year, this little bag of corn cobs and essential oils surpassed $40 million in sales through retailers. One of those retailers is Riverwood RV. Owner Tom Freidt not only sells the product, but uses it in his own storage sheds.

The success of the product earned Warberg-Block the North Dakota Small Business Person of the year and recently, Earthkind won second runner up at the national competition in Washington, D.C.

"The credibility that comes with the award is going to help in our exposure and ongoing business with government in the nation and outside countries. Once they see you receive that honor, there's a sense of trust," says Warberg-Block. 

The business employs about 40 full-time people, including 15 people with developmental disabilities at its manufacturing facility in Faribault, Minnesota.

"They're interfacing in their communities. They'll be able to start living on their own with supervision, and that as a person is extremely rewarding," says Warberg-Block.

So what's next?

"From where we began with nothing, I really want to take this and someday build it into a billion dollar company and I think it's entirely possible," says Warberg-Block. 

Not bad for a product created from what Warberg-Block calls a "blinding glimpse of the obvious."

 

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