Hot heels didn't do much for Sterilite, but it has found success at home. Known as a maker of home-storage items, Sterilite began by making plastic heels. Shoes that melted were not a smashing success, so it eventually honed in on plastic housewares. The company specializes in food-storage containers (such as pitchers, tumblers), laundry and utility units (clothes baskets, trash cans), and storage and organizational items (tote boxes, storage drawers). Its products are sold at major retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, and CVS. Sterilite was founded in 1939 as a partnership between Earl Tupper (inventor of Tupperware) and brothers Saul and Edward Stone. The Stone family still owns and operates Sterilite.
Interest in home organization has grown in recent years as the economic downturn has prompted many Americans to spend more time at home and take stock of their possessions. Sterilite's ClearView stacking drawers are modular and an inexpensive alternative to purchasing a bedroom dresser. Also, its multi-drawer units and cabinets can be used in the garage, utility closet, home office, or bedroom.
To pack away additional revenues, the company has rolled out new storage products. The Gasket Box, introduced in 2009, is a clear container designed for storing and protecting paperwork and photographs; it features a gasketed seal to repel both air and moisture, extending Sterilite's airtight offerings beyond food storage. Additionally, Sterilite has redesigned customer favorites -- such as dish drainers, laundry baskets, and storage totes -- with a more contemporary look and assortment of colors.
Mega retailer Wal-Mart had a helping hand in fueling Sterilite to leapfrog over über competitor Newell Rubbermaid in sales of plastic household containers. Several years ago, when Rubbermaid Home Products attempted to raise its prices with Wal-Mart, the retailer responded by stocking Sterilite and others' products over Rubbermaid's. The move spurred Sterilite to build several manufacturing plants in the late 1990s to keep up and Rubbermaid, which felt the pinch, was later sold to Newell. – less