When Rayne Guest, CEO of San Marcos-based cleaning solutions company R-Water, saw the devastation from the flooding in Hays County on Oct. 30 and 31, she wondered how she could help.
Guest figured that her company’s machines—which use water, salt and electricity to produce a hospital-grade disinfectant—could help residents disinfect their homes. Guest connected with Bea Wiggington, founder of the San Marcos nonprofit Rays of Hope, to see how R-Water could aid in the recovery.
“[Having the opportunity to help] kind of brings tears to my eyes,” Guest said. “I really want to change the world, and in order to change the world you have to start in your community.”
After floods, residents, nonprofits and recovery agencies must spend days cleaning out homes that have taken on thousands of gallons of water. Wiggington said she was unsure her organization would be able to meet San Marcos residents’ needs for cleaning supplies until R-Water offered to provide its solution free of charge.
After a recent test, the company discovered its solution kills 99.54 percent of black mold within a minute of application.
R-Water might never have ended up in San Marcos if not for two separate and eerie airport incidents.
In mid-2012, when the company was still relatively young, Guest was visiting family in Idaho. The night before her flight was to leave she had what she calls “crazy dreams” that were enough to convince her to delay her return to her home in California by a day. The new flight was booked, and the day after her original departure date she ended up seated next to former Texas Governor Mark White.
The two struck up a conversation about Guest’s business.
“He was like, ‘You’re green, you’re good for the environment and you’ll save people money?’” Guest said. “’Young lady, you belong in Texas.’”
White arranged introductions with small-business incubators throughout the state, which were enough to convince her Texas was the right place to put down roots. Guest remained unsure of whether to look at Houston or Austin, and on the advice of a friend, she looked into New Braunfels and San Marcos.
While trying to catch a flight from Los Angeles to Texas to perform due diligence in the site selection process, she missed two flights. At the airport terminal she struck up a conversation with Jim Sartain, president of ICS, a supplier of cleaning products to hotels, casinos and businesses throughout the world.
The two remained in contact, and Sartain now sits on R-Water’s executive board.
Guest said she has been happy with her decision to locate her company in San Marcos.
“San Marcos had Texas State University, and they were just opening STAR Park,” Guest said. “I called the Greater San Marcos Partnership and the first thing they answered the phone with was, ‘How can we help you?’ Living in LA for a long time, trust me that’s not the first thing that comes out of people’s mouths.”
Guest said she was happy to be able to give back to the community after the floods. The experience spawned a new companywide initiative whereby each month R-Water will rent out one of its machines free of charge to a local nonprofit organization.
The company’s systems are available for rent at $750 per month or for purchase at $14,500. They are mostly meant for large properties including restaurants, casinos and hotels, but R-Water plans to develop a more affordable system for use in homes, Guest said.
The company is currently gauging interest in home-use systems.
For more information, visit www.r-water.com.