Gaia Enterprises Inc.

No more slippery situations with earth- and pet-friendly products made in the United States
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

When winter hits hard with snow, sleet and freezing rain, making for slippery surfaces and icy conditions, there’s one company that has developed the products to help fight back and ease the winter blues. Gaia Enterprises Inc., the maker of Safe Paw Ice Melter and newly released Traction Magic, as well as numerous other patented solutions, is proving that an effective product that’s easy on surfaces can also be safe for families, pets and the environment. With manufacturing facilities in York, Pennsylvania, and just outside of Baltimore, Gaia distributes products to the Northeast and all over the U.S. and Canada.

“We manufacture and distribute patented winter products including ice melters and traction agents,” says Steven Greenwald, president and CEO of Gaia Enterprises Inc. “Our goal is to make earth-people-pet-property-friendly products.”

Most ice melters contain salt that can harm pets, children and the environment, however, Gaia’s 100 percent salt-free, 100 percent all-natural Safe Paw is guaranteed safe to handle and equally effective. The Safe Paw compound is made of a modified crystalline amide core and infused with special glycol admixture and traction agents; it draws on the power of the sun to provide extra melting power in daylight hours.

Once applied to a surface (asphalt, concrete, pavers, decking — it’s 100 percent safe to use on nearly everything) Safe Paw leaves an invisible shield that prevents more ice from sticking to surfaces for up to three days, thereby preventing users from chipping away at the reformed ice. Safe Paw has been used and recommended with confidence for years by veterinarians, animal hospitals, groomers, shelters and humane societies making it the No. 1 selling brand. Safe Paw was recently award the PTPA Green Product Seal and was added to Whole Green Catalog’s list of 1,000 Best Things for You and the Earth. Safe Paw was also the bestselling winter product on Amazon.

A salt-free solution

Safe Paw was patented in 1992, but before this Gaia was a manufacturer of specialty chemicals such as solvents, degreasers and corrosion inhibitors sold to power generation companies, construction firms, railroads and municipalities. “Our products helped these entities comply with strict environmental regulations and equipment manufacturer specifications,” says Greenwald. “If a utility fails to use products that comply with the environmental regulations, the EPA can fine and/or shut down the operations. The failure to follow manufacturer’s product specs will risk the voiding of warrantees.”

In 1983, Gaia began the patenting process for Safe Thaw, which was designed to solve many of the problems associated with using salt-based ice melters. The Safe Thaw formula proved to be: environmentally safe (for land and waterways); non-corrosive to all metals; non-conductive (won't short out circuits); safe on paints, plastics and rubber; safe on asphalt, concrete, and pavers; and nontoxic to animals and humans.

“We marketed the product under several names — Safe Thaw, Paver Saver, HeliPad for the commercial markets, but in 1994 it was brought to our attention that there was a need to have an ice melter that could be used around the home and would be absolutely safe to use around pets and children. To meet these needs we reformulated Safe Thaw and marketed it under the Safe Paw brand and targeted the pet industry,” explains Greenwald, who’s been in manufacturing since 1973 and with Gaia since inception.

Over the last decade-plus, the product has grown to become the No. 1 branded ice melter. To meet the demand for Safe Paw, Gaia operates three manufacturing sites: two in Pennsylvania and a satellite plant outside of Baltimore. “We have 15 staff employees and about 150 people with disabilities on the manufacturing end,” notes Greenwald.

Instant traction on icy and snowy surfaces

With the success of Safe Paw, Gaia began working on Traction Magic to solve the problem of crossing icy and snowy surfaces. In 2012, Gaia tackled the task of developing this product that could be safely spread on any surface — from a slick driveway to a parking lot or walkway ramp — and provide instant traction while still being safe to handle and not harmful to anything else.

“After experimenting with thousands of ingredients, we developed Traction Magic; the only traction agent that works instantly,” says Greenwald. “Use it when your car is stuck, when you need to cross a slippery walkway, driveway or deck.”

This is the reason for Traction Magic, according to Greenwald: “Picture yourself confronted with an icy situation whether it is in your car [spinning wheels], at your front door [guests deliveries] or at your place of business [customer/employee safety] and you need to move now and don’t have the time to melt the ice so you can proceed,” he explains. “What do you do? Understand that ice always has a liquid layer or film on its surface and it is this film that you slip on just like grease on a floor. What in brief Traction Magic components do is to absorb this liquid and bury itself into the ice or compacted snow, which results is a surface with the feel of sand paper. The patent-pending system consists of all natural crystal granules [geocrystals] that function as absorbers and grippers.”

The absorbers first siphon up the liquid layer above the frozen ice, then the grippers latch on with spike-like ends to embed themselves into the ice sheet. The result is a stable, nonslip surface, similar to sand paper.

The product hit the market in 2015 and the patent awaits certification. So far Greenwald says the sky is the limit for Traction Magic’s success. “When you have two good winters in a row and a product people want, you’re not too worried,” he says.

But Gaia isn’t sitting too comfortably. The company is always making product, facility and manufacturing improvements to bring down costs to the consumer. Gaia’s personnel have sights set on the next revolutionary product. “We’re looking forward to the success and growth of Traction Magic in the next year and working on new innovative solutions to winter’s problems,” says Greenwald. “We can feel good about what we’re doing because our products are protecting family households. They’re safe to handle and they’re not harming the environment.”

With Safe Paw and Traction Magic, Gaia Enterprises Inc. is making winter woes a little less painful and a whole lot safer by protecting families, pets, properties and the planet one product at a time. 

Strategic Partnership(s): 
TimBar Packaging & Display