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Pitching a Local Product That Really Cleans Up

Pitching a Local Product That Really Cleans Up

The Seattle Times

There is a reason why a good pitchman for Quick ’n Brite, a family-owned Mountlake Terrace firm, can make upward of $100 an hour at a fair or home show.

Human nature cannot resist a good salesman.

That’s why those Billy Mays infomercials are still being aired four months after his untimely death.

Quick ‘n Brite first was hawked at local fairs in 1979. Now it’s sold by a dozen contracted sales people at some 400 fairs and shows around the country, grossing $1.2 million a year.

Of course, you might be one of the few who can ignore a good pitchman.

Come on, admit to at least stopping for a few seconds when hearing from one of the Quick ’n Brite pitchmen, at, you name it, the Puyallup Fair, the Tacoma Home and Garden Show or this weekend at the Seattle Home Show 2.

The pitch goes something like this:

“All you need to do is take your damp rag and your paste, and apply it directly on. Now this stain could be gum, tar, blood, crayon, lipstick, grape juice, coffee, tea, red wine. It will even do pet stains and the odors!”

Sue Corak, of Puyallup, paid attention recently at the Tacoma show.

She owns a 12-year-old Bernese mountain dog, “and it’s a breed that’s not supposed to live past eight or 10 years.”

Guess what the aging dog is doing on her carpet?

“Nothing is working so far” to get rid of the smell, Corak says. She was ready to buy.

Quick ’n Brite is run by two brothers, Allan and Larry Gourlie. They bought it from their dad, Jack Gourlie, 73, in 1987.

Jack bought the formula from someone else back in the early 1970s. He had first hawked the cleaner door-to-door as a high-schooler in the early 1950s.

In those early days, the guy who had the formulation cooked it up over a stove in a motel room. When that guy agreed to sell, the Gourlie family used to mix the ingredients in a 30-gallon vat — replaced by a 55-gallon drum as business increased — that was heated over an open flame in the garage.

These days, the cleaner is mixed in a large warehouse the brothers own in Mountlake Terrace that has 11 1,000-gallon tanks.