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Spotlight: How Briarwood Products is helping provide safe cleaning tools for the correctional industry

The company’s tools have helped reduce assaults and provide a sense of security to COs while inmates are performing their cleaning tasks

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Company name: Briarwood Products, LLC
Headquarters: Cleveland, Ohio
Signature Product: Full line of prison safe shank-free and metal free cleaning tools

1. What was the inspiration behind starting your company?

Accurate Mold and Die Company was started in 1965 by Erwin Tomm. After many years of working his way up the ladder from being an apprentice to the foreman at Skryl Tool and Die Company, he had a yearning to be an entrepreneur and build tooling for a new process called plastic injection molding. Erwin had the foresight to visualize the potential of this new process in the future. Plastic injection molding became the driving force behind the startup company named Accurate Mold and Die.

In 1968, a man by the name of Theodore Moss, owner of SECO Industries, came to Erwin to design and develop a new product for the floor care field. They named the new product for holding mops the “GRIPPER” mop holder. This was the beginning of a long relationship of what we call in today’s terms “partnering” in the industry. Many different parts were designed and developed out of plastic including what we call the “INVADER” mop holder.

Then, in 1987, SECO Industries was sold to Rubbermaid and the company name changed to Rubbermaid Commercial Products, but the mops still retained the famous trademark of “SECO MOPS.”

In 1993, Tomm started a new company and named it, Briarwood Products. Briarwood Products was formed to be the sales and marketing company for Accurate Mold and Die.

On January 1, 2015, Accurate Mold was merged into Briarwood Products, LLC. Briarwood then explored the need and opportunity to provide safe cleaning tools for the correctional industry. These tools have since been able to help reduce assaults and provide a sense of security to the officers while inmates are performing their cleaning tasks.

2. What is your signature product and how does it work?

Briarwood Products signature product is their full line of Prison Safe Shank-Free and Metal Free Cleaning Tools. All tooling in this line is manufactured in the USA using a soft, flexible plastic that is unable to be sharpened. This specialized line of cleaning tools has reduced the assault rate in correctional facilities by 40%. It provides and extra level of security for officers, COs and inmates while cleaning tasks are being performed. The specialized plastic that is used is strong, durable and designed to endure the toughest of jobs.

3. Why do you believe your products are essential to the corrections community?

Our products provide a level of security to officers, COs and inmates daily by offering a line of cleaning tools that cannot be sharpened to create a weapon. Other commercial cleaning tools are made from hard plastic that can easily be broken and handcrafted into a weapon or shank. Since the introduction of Briarwood Products Shank-Free line, the assault rate with a weapon in correctional institutions have reduced by 40%. The material is strong, durable and will withstand heavy use. The flexibility of the tools is beneficial if it were to be used as club as it will flex and not be a hard stiff object.

4. What has been the biggest challenge your company has faced?

The biggest challenge for our company is our research and design process. To launch a product, we have to ensure that the product meets all standards and ensure it is safe to have in correctional facilities.

5. What makes your company unique?

Briarwood Products is a family-owned business that manufactures all products in the USA. Briarwood prides itself on quality service, products and its ability and want to work with customers to create essential tooling based on the current demands in the correctional industry. The turnaround rate from order to delivery is exceptional and customers receive a high-quality product.

6. What do your customers like best about you and your products?

Briarwood Products customers like the overall safety and security the shank-free cleaning tools offer and provide to their facilities. Below are a few reviews from facilities who have adopted this specialized line into their facilities:

“Anything we can do to enhance security, everybody is onboard. Since the introduction of the Briarwood Products line to our facility, we have reduced instances where offender cleaning products have been compromised for malicious intentions and staff has greater sense of security.” – Lt. Wine, Ohio State Penitentiary

“I always tell the individuals that have inquired and spoken to me about Briarwood that our goal is to, of course, protect ourselves first, but we’re here to protect the inmates as well, and if there’s anything that we can do to prevent an inmate to cause bodily harm to the officers or other inmates, we are supposed to focus on that. If you want a product that is durable and shank-free Briarwood is the product that you want to go with.” – Anonymous

“This is what we use after a riot where wooden broomsticks were snapped in half to make spears. Seem pretty durable and never caused any problems. -- Doug Thomas

Our facilities appreciate that they have the ability to work with us to develop products that best suit their facility. In the past,Briarwood Products have gone into facilities to fully understand the need and want and have developed products specific to their needs. Feedback is always encouraged as a way to better the product and ensure that safety is the essential key when developing new products.

7. What is the most rewarding part of serving the first responder community?

The most rewarding part of serving the correctional industry is knowing our products are helping to reduce assaults and, essentially, saving lives. Most commercial cleaning tools, such as hard plastic dust pans or wooden handles, are too easily broken and immediately turned into a deadly weapon. Our tooling eliminates the threat and is made from a material that is unable to be sharpened or broken to create sharp edges.

8. What’s next for your company? Any upcoming new projects or initiatives?

Briarwood Products is gearing up to release a Shank-Free and Metal Free Toilet Bowl Brush the summer of 2021. The toilet bowl brush is made from the specialized shank-free material that is much different from the hard plastic handle that is currently being used in facilities. This product is essential to the correctional industry as the current handles being used are a hard plastic that can be handcrafted into a weapon or shank easily and can turn deadly in an instant. This brush has been a necessity in correctional facilities for a long time and finally the wait is over.