Q&A: TRI’s Gonzalez discusses the company’s commitment to preparedness

Total Resources International’s vice president of sales and marketing spoke with Drug Store News about the company’s growth, its brands and what the opportunities in the first aid and emergency preparedness category look like in the future.

Since its founding in 1991, family- and minority-owned Total Resources International has become a leading manufacturer of first aid and emergency preparedness items. Drug Store News caught up with Geolyn Gonzalez, vice president of sales and marketing, at the Walnut, Calif.-based company to discuss its growth, its brands and what it sees as the future of first aid and emergency preparedness. 

Geolyn Gonzalez, Total Resources International
Geolyn Gonzalez, vice president of sales and marketing, Total Resources International

Drug Store News: Tell us a bit about some of the brands TRI sells.
Geolyn Gonzalez:
 Under the brand Be Smart Get Prepared, we span across multiple retail categories: HBC, outdoors, auto, industrial, emergency survival and B-to-B/B-to-C e-commerce. We design with the consumer in mind, curating a product selection full of innovation, insight and style. Our goal is to deliver comprehensive kits at the most competitive prices. For over 25 years, we have been servicing the world’s largest retailers — Sam’s Club, Walmart, Amazon, O’Reilly, Kroger, Menards, Big Lots, 99 Cents Only and many more.

In 2018, we launched the SILVEX brand in more than 2,000 Walmart stores, and now SILVEX is sold in over 6,000 stores at Walmart, Kroger, Smart & Final and Amazon. We work hard to educate the consumers on the benefits of nano silver technology and why it’s highly effective.

[Related content: First aid category remains ready for anything]

In 1996, TRI owners George and Merlyn Rivera had a vision and established a nonprofit organization called Vision HimPossible. A portion of the proceeds from our products are used to build schools, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, assist orphanages and fund orthopedic surgeries for children in the Philippines, Mexico and more. In 2018, we launched our social responsibility initiative, Every Kit Cares. As a faith-based company, we’ve given back for 25 years and encourage our partners to catch the vision and join our mission.

"The emergence of e-commerce has made first aid more accessible for consumers who prefer to self-medicate and treat injuries at home."

DSN: A lot of your brands are focused on preparedness and first aid — two areas that have grown during the pandemic. What are some of your most popular preparedness-focused products and how do they meet consumer demands?
 The global pandemic created a surge in demand for first aid, shifting consumer shopping behavior. We’re learning that consumers want products with clear, defined benefits to complement their lifestyle.

Strict regulations ensuring employee safety has created a higher demand for first aid in the workplace. The rise in demand is also a result of the influx of injuries on site. Be Smart Get Prepared 351-piece ANSI/ISEA First Aid Kit is our best seller and can be found at Sam’s Club.

[Related content: Welly launches 200-piece Excursion Kit]

The emergence of e-commerce has made first aid more accessible for consumers who prefer to self-medicate and treat injuries at home. Be Smart Get Prepared 100-piece First Aid Kit is an Amazon best seller with great value for under $10.

The evolution from traditional wound care to advanced and active wound care products puts SILVEX Nano Silver Wound Gel in a great position in the market, as antibacterial products are highly sought after. 

More people and families with active lifestyles have a growing need to be prepared outdoors and are looking for products to fulfill that need. During the pandemic, people had no choice but to adventure outdoors for an escape. Be Smart Get Prepared Happy Explorer 265-piece Outdoor First Aid Kit is what a family of adventurers need for their next excursion.

[Related content: Portability, packaging and preparedness drive first aid growth]

DSN: How does your SILVEX brand play into the growing interest in immune-boosting products and proactive health? 
GG: SILVEX Nano Silver products are the first line of defense in promoting optimal health for individuals and families. SILVEX Nano Silver products address consumers’ health from the inside out. SILVEX Wound Gel and Wound Wash boost prevention outside the body by inhibiting infection from bacteria (MRSA, VRE, staph, etc.) and treating cuts, lacerations, first- and second-degree burns, sunburns, and abrasions. The Nano Silver Immuno Boost and Immuno Drops strengthen the immune system by clearing a path for probiotics to optimize gut health.

DSN: What do you think are the big opportunities in first aid for your company?  
GG: The biggest opportunity is to make first aid relevant through education. Our purpose and intent is to change the mindset of consumers to be proactive instead of reactive. This is our legacy … Be Smart Get Prepared.

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