By Heidi G. Evans – SmallCapVoice

LOS ANGELES — While the Great Recession devastated many growing companies, Pacific Shore Holdings, Inc., used the downturn to its advantage, securing affordable manufacturing space and capitalizing on newly enacted regulations to attract investors and remain debt free.

The key to this success was simple, stay focused on the goal of selling effective, affordable, environmentally friendly products that customers wanted no matter the economic climate.

Leading the company’s growth is its Thermal-Aid division, a product line of therapeutic packs that apply either soothing heat or comfortable cooling. The products use a patented, all-natural corn product packaged within a cotton twill pouch that can be placed in the freezer for cold therapy applications or heated in a microwave for three minutes for heat therapy applications.

While the concept is simple, it’s affordable, effective and a favorite with physical therapists. A four-month, randomized study of osteoarthritis patients found the packs improved pain control for more than a third. It decreased the use of medications for nearly a quarter of the patients.

Other products in the line include the Holiday-season hit the Thermal-Aid Zoo, kid-friendly animals stuffed with Thermal-Aid packs, perfect for treating everything from bruises to earaches to growing pains. And headache sufferers are finding relief with the Thermal-Aid Headache Relief system, which combines topical analgesic cream with a cooling pack to relieve inflammation in the blood vessels of the brain, all without harmful side effects.

Thermal-Aid has been so successful for Pacific Shore Holdings, it created an early crisis for the company, one the recession actually helped to solve.

Founder and CEO Matthew Mills said a major retailer ordered 144,000 units of Thermal-Aid products. Although the company spent two years in marketing and research, Pacific Shore Holdings had never produced more than a few thousand units at a time. Mills said his fellow executives literally “turned white” when he promised to meet the order, but he decided they had to take the challenge.

“I took a walk outside, and I looked up at the sky saying, ‘How in the heck are we going to do this?’” Mills said. And then he heard a commotion at the warehouse next door as men started throwing items into a large dumpster. Minutes later, the landlord pulled up, and told Mills the tenants were moving out, seeking less square footage in tough times. Mills instantly asked for the space, negotiated favorable lease terms, and secured the manufacturing future of the business.

“It taught me a lesson to be prepared,” Mills said. “All the systems are now in place, we have plenty of inventory, and we are engaging with these big distributors,” including the likes of Rite Aid, Bed Bath and Beyond, Sears and Kmart. And, yes, they met that initial order.

With extensive in-house experience attracting investors, Pacific Shore Holdings has already raised $9 million and continues to pursue further investment. They have benefitted from the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (JOBS Act) that was designed to assist startups in tough economic times by allowing them to solicit more broadly for financial investment. Pacific Shore Holdings remains debt free and will continue to do so, Mills said, until a different arrangement is highly advantageous for continued growth.

They are also expanding their product offerings, with the launch of their second division “Nature-Cide,” a unique pest management system that repels bugs and combats pests without the use of harsh chemicals. The division is growing rapidly in the Malibu and Calabasas neighborhoods of Calif. In these areas, the use of poisons is increasingly being discouraged by local governmental agencies. Instead of poison, Nature-Cide uses a blend of essential oils and other natural ingredients that drive away pests, without being harmful to humans or pets. The company is preparing for strong growth, helping clients manage pests from cockroaches to snakes, both indoors and out.

In addition the company offers the Energy-X line, caffeinated gum, lip balm and beverages made with natural ingredients. The economic downturn was also a boon for this product line, allowing the company to secure advantageous agreements with co-packing manufacturers who were sitting idle.

Even though Pacific Shore Holdings offers an odd combination of product lines, the company found a way to make each more successful in tough times by taking advantage of current conditions and focusing on quality products. While an eclectic mix, from stuffed animals to caffeinated lip balm, headache relief to pest management, all the products fit under the company’s core goals.

“Pacific Shore Holdings creates products that are effective, environmentally friendly, and are affordable to all walks of life,” said Mills. “Our goal is to be the Procter & Gamble of the green scene.”