TJM Innovations makes environmentally-friendly products

TJM Innovations LLC
5519 W. Woolworth Ave., Milwaukee
Industry: Hardware, housewares and consumer electronics
Employees: 11-23 (seasonally)

Milwaukee-based TJM Innovations LLC is anticipating a strong 2014 as it continues to make important strides in its business.

TJM Innovations, which specializes in environmentally-friendly products, was launched in 2007 with the “GutterStuff,” a polyether foam gutter filter. The company began as a distributer of the product, and after a positive market response, TJM acquired the patent to GutterStuff and began to manufacture it in 2010.

The product has grown in popularity, said Ted McNamara, chief executive officer, and is now distributed nationally.

“Our season for GutterStuff (starts) in March and it ramps up every month more and more through the end of October and November,” he said.

Currently, GutterStuff is fabricated from large blocks of foam at TJM Innovations’ manufacturing and distribution facility at 5519 W. Woolworth Ave. in Milwaukee.

“The unique thing to GutterStuff and part of the patent that we have is the cut (of the product),” said Julie McNamara, president. “There’s a slight flat cut on the bottom, which uses more foam and little extra cost, and that makes it stand up a little more in the gutter.”

Ted and Julie McNamara

GutterStuff distinguishes itself in the market by being able to stand up on its own and provide more consistent support, the McNamaras said.

The manufacturing of GutterStuff also utilizes different levels of coating that “protects against heat, humidity, sunlight and debris,” Ted said.

TJM Innovations is planning to expand its manufacturing operations, hoping to at some point put in a manufacturing line to make all of the foam in house, Julie said.

Xolani Idris (right) and Jonathan Nash at work at TJM Innovations.

In addition to GutterStuff, TJM Innovations manufactures the Roof Drain Foam Filter, a product similar to GutterStuff, but instead designed to prevent debris from clogging commercial roof drains, and CobZorb, a line of absorbents made from corn byproducts.

“This year, we’re hoping to have large retailers pick up (the CobZorb products),” Ted said.

CobZorb products include a cooking oil absorbent, a paint hardener, an all-purpose absorbent, a deodorizer, a roof-cleaning product and an odor-eliminating cat litter. All of these products are non-toxic and all-natural and are made in a batch mixer by mixing corn cob byproducts with other ingredients. The CobZorb line continues to expand, Julie said.

The total number of employees at TJM Innovations varies seasonally, as many of its products peak in popularity during warmer weather months. The company has a base of 11 to 13 full-time employees and peaked at 23 total employees last year.

TJM participates in the Transitional Jobs Collaborative. Julie said the program, which helps to assist and supplement labor costs, has been a great economic development tool for employers.

“I don’t know if we could have remained the sole proprietor of the company without the Transitional Jobs Collaborative effort,” Ted said. “Without that effort, we probably would have had to find some sort of an equity investor partner. For us, it’s great to be staying as sole proprietor.”

Additionally, in 2013, TJM Innovations was awarded national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise. The certification, Julie said, has been “an opportunity that has been really helpful.”

The company also makes the patented Bandshell iPhone case, which amplifies and improves sound from iPhone 5/5S and 5C speakers. The Bandshell product is manufactured overseas.

TJM Innovations also does additional batch manufacturing at its Milwaukee headquarters.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display