Outfitted in white hazmat suits and armed with electro-static backpack sprayers, Ted Dinkins and Bob Crisler looked more the part of Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray in Ghostbusters.
As the two made their way through Broad Street Baking Company recently, though, they were not looking for the metaphysical or paranormal.
Rather, the two were looking to vanquish another foe that has become all too common in recent months: coronavirus.
Dinkins, along with Crisler and Michael Stevens, are co-founders of Sanitation Innovations (SANINNO), a new business that could help restaurants like Broad Street keep their doors open even as cases of COVID-19 again spike.
In recent weeks, as cases across the state have increased, business has picked up.
The group of Northeast Jackson entrepreneurs has recently been in talks with churches, school districts, real estate agencies and manufacturing companies who are looking to keep their employees and customers safe.
“What we have is the best combination of product and delivery system on the market,” Crisler said. “It kills corona, it’s scent-free, it’s food-safe, and you don’t have to wipe it off.”
The spray, dubbed SAFMAXX, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills the virus and then creates a temporary shield to prevent new viruses from sticking to a surface, Crisler said.
That shield can last for hours or days, at least until it is rubbed off.
The solution is applied through an electro-static spray gun that “mists” the disinfectant onto targeted surfaces.
It has a Category IV rating from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for a low-level of acute toxicity.
“You can leave your plate out and spray it, and when it’s dry, it’s safe to use,” Crisler said. “We’ve got science on our side.
“There are no toxic fumes or residue to worry about. That’s where we want to be,” he added.
At Broad Street, Dinkins worked his way throughout the restaurant, spraying down heavily used touchpoints, such as tables and door handles, as well as the drink dispenser, counters, cash registers and kitchen equipment.
Broad Street co-owner Jeff Good plans to use the SANINNO spray at his other restaurants, as just one component of his overall efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The only thing we have to sell right now is safety,” Good said. “We have a routine where every 30 minutes we wipe down door handles, bathroom fixtures, coffee pots and any common thing that customers touch.
“SAFMAXX is not a replacement for that, but an augmentation,” he said. “It takes us to the next level.”
Crisler, Dinkins and Stevens have been working to form SANINNO for months. They were turned onto the idea by their contacts at a chemical company in Texas.
“One of our partners is a blender in Texas, who mixes the chemicals,” Dinkins said. “They told us to look into it and said the electro-static backpacks would be the way to go.”
SANINNO was able to obtain the spray through the blending company and two electro-static sprayers with the help of local friends, who are in the drug labeling and importing and exporting business.
“We combine the best solution and the best application method,” Crisler said.
Crisler is “multi-passionate,” who has built numerous companies over the years. Dinkins describes himself as a “solutions-oriented” individual looking for a way to address problems related to the coronavirus. For his part, Stevens is from the corporate world, and is now pursuing a master’s in business administration at Belhaven University.
Since starting, the three have been enlisted to disinfect Northminster Baptist Church and the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and recently was in talks with a local public school district.
At press time, schools across the state were still grappling with how they would reopen in the fall.
Crisler, Stevens and Dinkins believes their spray, along with a hand sanitizer product they hope to introduce in the coming weeks, could help schools feel more comfortable welcoming students back.
“The people we work with are chemists and they help us,” Dinkins said. “They like people like us because we’re good at getting the product to market and making things happen.”