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LSBE graduate's cleaning business committed to green practices

Craig SimonsonWhen Craig Simonson ('14) graduated from LSBE with a degree in organizational management, he had been running his own carpet cleaning business for two years. As a college junior, Simonson founded Pure Clean, a Duluth-based environmentally friendly commercial and residential cleaning company.

Through his LSBE coursework, Simonson built a strategic foundation for Pure Clean. He wrote his business plan for Dr. Raymond Jones' Entrepreneurship class and refined his niche while working on a project for Dr. Geoffrey Bell's Sustainability and Sustainable Management class. He started looking at nontoxic cleaning products as a way to reduce the carbon footprint for companies in the community. Today, the company specializes in steam cleaning and carpet cleaning and only uses chemical-free products.

Going green seems to be working for Simonson, as Pure Clean has enjoyed a 988.8 percent revenue increase since its inception. Its clients include several high-profile Duluth businesses, such as Black Woods Grill & Bar, Canal Park Brewing Company, and Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar. The business has grown to a staff of eight part-time employees, all of whom are college students. Simonson said it's rewarding to provide jobs for students who need flexible schedules.

Simonson's commitment to eco-friendly practices extends beyond using nontoxic cleaning solutions. With the purchase of a steam sanitization and cleaning machine that uses water only, Simonson has eliminated the business's need for one-gallon plastic water jugs. Before, he was using more than 1,300 bottles annually, which would be recycled but had no further use. Now, that plastic is out of the process entirely. Plus, the machine has reduced the amount of water needed when steam cleaning.

Pure Clean is also striving to reduce paper waste by presenting contracts and marketing materials on an iPad rather than printed stock. Simonson's goal is to be 95 percent paper free, which will reduce waste and help keep operating costs low as the company grows.

Finally, Pure Clean is planting one native tree for every client it services. Simonson partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation in Minneapolis to purchase seedlings, and more than 3,000 plantings are planned for 2015. Simonson said, "Each tree planting takes place in September at a location in Duluth where it will create the greatest positive impact."

Giving back to the community and helping others remains a top priority for Simonson. He continues to maintain close ties to LSBE, speaking at several School club functions throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Simonson is fully enjoying his multifaceted role overseeing all daily operations of Pure Clean. And he's thankful to be living his dream as a young entrepreneur.

"I believe Pure Clean is and will continue to be a success," Simonson said.