Billed by its owner, as the original "wipe and rinse" cleaner specifically formulated to eliminate tarnish on sterling silver, silver plate, platinum, copper, gold and even diamonds without scrubbing, Tarn-X is one of the best-known names in its category and has been used by generations of homeowners. According to data from IRI for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 4, 2016, Tarn-X sales were just shy of $4 million in the $109.3 million specialty/cleaner category.
The fact that Tarn-X been used for decades to revive precious heirlooms is apropos; this family-owned product itself is was given a second chance to shine thanks to Manny Gutterman.
Gutterman founded Manny Gutterman & Associates, a sales organization that sold a variety of products acquired from closeout sales to chain drug, variety, hardware and department stores.In 1967, a friend asked him to sell a warehouse full of cleaning product that he received in a barter from a bankrupt client
“My grandfather took 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 initiated the Jelmar company,” said Alison Gutterman, who is CEO, president and the third-generation family owner of the Chicago based firm.
Tarn-X was one of the very first products to use the phrase "As Seen on TV" in commercials and packaging.
“Still, to this day, people remember our ‘wipe and rise’ infomercials. Due in large part to our success on TV, the Tarn-X brand has become a number one selling metal cleaner in the US. Over the past 50 years, it has become a known household staple, and it can now be found in most major retailers in the country,” Alison told Happi.
The success of Tarn-X fueled Gutterman’s small but mighty firm; it would eventually change its name to Jelmar and launch another well-known home care brand—CLR, which leads the lime/rust category, ahead of Lime-Away, a brand owned by CPG giant Reckitt Benckiser.
Times have changed in the 50 years since Tarn-X came on the scene, but the formulation’s ease of use has proved timeless.
“Today’s homeowners, and anyone in this day and age, are busy. Schedules are hectic and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everyday life when you’re juggling time among work, family, hobbies and yourself. Our products take the work out of everyday life with simple-to-use instructions for use that give immediate results,” said Alison. “As a parent of two children myself, I value the precious time I spend with my kids, and I want my customers to do the same. We understand the struggle our customers face every day to make time for themselves and their families, and we know cleaning is the last thing on their minds. That’s why it’s important for us to create products that are easy to use and save them time on cleaning and other everyday chores.”
To mark the 50th anniversary of Tarn-X, Jelmar has given the package a facelift.
The new Tarn-X bottle—developed after months of quantitative testing and focus groups with brand loyalists and newcomers alike—features a blue label that signifies the strength and loyalty the brand has sustained over generations, while its modern look better represents the ongoing evolution of the brand.
“Families from all over have passed down the practice of using Tarn-X Tarnish Remover from one generation to the next. And while the product has been around for generations, it has certainly grown with the company over the years. Its more modern look represents the ongoing evolution of the brand and the Jelmar company,” she said
The new label also calls attention to the firm’s core values and practices; Jelmar is certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a women’s business enterprise and the product manufactured in the US.
“Being a business owner brings its own range of inherent challenges, but being the first woman owner of a third-generation, family-owned business is a whole different level. But ultimately, I am proud of not only the successes and adaptations, but also the trials and tribulations of my experiences that have helped bring this company to where it is today,” said Alison, who succeeded her father in 2007.
She’s equally as proud about keeping manufacturing in the US.
“Jelmar was built on the American dream and is a prime example of American ingenuity. I’m proud to continue this tradition of manufacturing in the USA It not only keeps money circulating in our local communities and supports US jobs, but it also gives me greater control over the quality of products we put into peoples’ homes. We love to be a consistent brand that people can trust to use time after time.”
In 2016, Jelmar rebranded its entire CLR brand product line, which includes the flagship product that leads rust/lime remover category as well as CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner, CLR Mold & Mildew Stain Remover, CLR Stain Magnet and CLR Septic System Treatment.
This year, Jelmar is planning to celebrate all year along. For example, last month, it launched a Facebook giveaway for Valentine’s Day in which it asked consumers to nominate a couple who has been together for 50+ years, with one winner being presented with a Tiffany & Co. gift card for themselves and a bouquet of flowers for the special couple they nominated.
“We want our fans to celebrate with us and enjoy what 50 years of growth and strength can bring, so we’ll continue to do fun things like this throughout the year,” Alison concluded.