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Robert Reeve poses for a photograph outside the offices of his company Purmist, in Erin Ontario on Friday April 9, 2010.

Chris Young

In 2000, Robert Reeve was a new recruit at CFB Meaford, which he joined after 12 years as a special constable with the Ontario Provincial Police. An idea for a new product came to him in a dream during his training period.

Eight years later, he turned that idea into a successful business, a hand sanitizer called Purmist.

It has been laboratory tested on 13 types of bacteria and one virus to date, including the H1N1 influenza, and it can eradicate over 99 per cent of all 14 for four hours or longer. Its plant-based natural pedigree means it doesn't cause the allergic reactions experienced by those using chemical-based sanitizers.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Reeve says sales of Purmist, which was picked up by Mark's Work Warehouse at the end of 2008, have grown by about 10 per cent to 15 per cent every month ever since, even during the recession. Now 980 stores across Canada are carrying the sanitizer, including branches of Metro, Jean Coutu, Overweightea, and Shoppers Drug Mart. Purmist is also used by Hockey Canada.

He joined us to take your questions on how military life prepared him for the business world, and how he developed his product. View an archive in the box below.





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