WD-40 Aims to Fix the World's Problems
No squeaks here! WD-40 said it hasn't felt a significant pinch from the sequester and the January payroll tax hike. Americans still need to to loosen locks, lubricate hinges and remove unwanted gum.
"I don't think the end user is really making a negative decision against our brand right now," Gary Ridge, WD-40 president and CEO, said in an interview with CNBC's Brian Sullivan during his San Diego stop on the "Opportunity USA" tour.
In all, there were three stops to see how business is doing around the country: Houston, San Diego and Minneapolis.
WD-40's blue and yellow can has been a staple in households across America. They're also in 187 countries around the world. Ridge said 70 percent of their business is outside the U.S. and they think there's more room for global growth.
"There's still lots of squeaks in China and lots of rust in Russia!" he said. "So, our first job is to take that blue and yellow can to more places around the world."
Among their other plans for growth, Ridge said they're rolling out several new products, including a line of WD-40 products for bikes.
"So, we see that as our two growth engines," he said.
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Ridge, who has been with the company for more than two decades, cautioned that Washington is rattling business confidence.
"The problem, I think, is the uncertainty we have within the era of business. I think leadership needs to get on top of that," he said.
That uncertainty is being felt by both large and small companies. The latest small business optimism report showed a drop in small-business-owner confidence in March.
"Let's get some confidence back in business," Ridge said. "If leadership was about taking away barriers, why would we continue to put barriers in our way? So, why don't we work out the three to four things that are getting in the way of business and ask our leaders to do something about it," he said.
Unfortunately, Ridge declined to comment on what's in the 60-year-old company's secret formula.
However, a little known fact is: the WD in the company's name stands for "water displacing," and the "40" in the brands name represents the 40 times it took to perfect the legendary formula.