Exclusive: Greek-American Firm Creates Jobs in Greece (video)



Earth Friendly Products’ CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks (center) with Earth Friendly Products employees.

A U.S.-based company founded by a pioneering Greek immigrant has come home – so to speak – by launching a production line in Greece.

Earth Friendly Products, which has become famous for its range of ECOS green household-cleaning materials, has spent 50 years proving that putting the environment first can also be good for business.

First founded by the late Cretan immigrant Van Vlahakis, it has now crossed the ocean to fulfil a 2013 commitment to support his homeland by employing people in Greece itself.

Earth Friendly CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, Van Vlahakis’ daughter, told Greek Reporter that production at the facility in Greece started March 21.

She described how her teams from California and New Jersey travelled to Greece to bring their skills and expertise and found a “wonderful place with so many great natural resources and so much talent”.

“It’s not just producing the products in Greece, it’s getting all the packaging in Greece, it’s getting the raw materials in Greece, it’s working with the carriers in Greece, and our hope is to create jobs and that’s what Greeks living abroad need to do for their homeland,” she said.

As well as servicing the Greek market, the products made here will also go on sale in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The green giant has been recognized as one of California’s best employers, providing the highest in the nation minimum wage of at least $17 an hour, among other benefits.

There have been many milestones for the innovative company that kept redefining green in cleaning products.

It was the first to remove all the carcinogens from all their products and is the only company in the U.S. that has achieved water neutrality, carbon neutrality, while being zero-waste certified as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s partner of the year.

For Vlahakis-Hanks, this ‘homecoming’ is also a way of telling the world that Greece is open for business:

“I would tell investors that Greece is a market they should be looking at right now; obviously it has had a big setback financially but at the same time… the country has so much to offer.”