Park City rechargeable battery company expanding rapidly
A Park City startup company is getting a big boost in business thanks to their products hitting REI shelves.
Tom Bishop moved to the Park City area in 2012 to work on product development for Skullcandy. In 2019, he founded the rechargeable battery company Pale Blue Earth, which now has an office on Rasmussen Road near Kimball Junction.
Pale Blue Earth started with the help of the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and a website was launched shortly before the pandemic.
Bishop said the company’s central mission is to reduce waste. He estimates that around 10 million batteries are thrown away each day in the U.S.
“That adds up to somewhere around 150,000 to 200,000 tons of waste a year,” Bishop said. “About 5% of that gets recycled, so most is going into landfills or incinerators.”
The company offers AA, AAA, 9V batteries, and others commonly used. Bishop said a set of AAA batteries can fully charge through a USB-C port in 90 minutes.
The brand has primarily grown through online retail in recent years, but is now available at 35 REI stores, which Bishop said is a major step forward.
“For our business, it’s an honor to have created something that can make it into a space like REI, but it’s also a huge validation for the customers who are shopping in REI to see a brand like ours and go, ‘oh wow I’ve heard of these guys, this is really cool to see them here, maybe I’ll give them a try,’” he said.
Bishop added that getting into retail locations is crucial because around 85% of battery purchases occur at brick and mortar stores. Pale Blue Earth has done well in international sales across 20 countries, including Europe, Australia, Canada, and continues to expand.
“From a sustainability perspective, we try to make sure our customers know that this is not a product that is little bit more sustainable… one of our batteries might replace 1,000 alkaline batteries over its lifetime,” Bishop said. “So it’s a significant improvement in the amount of waste that we all generate, but also it’s going to save a ton of money.”
Learn more about Pale Blue Earth, which is named in reference to Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” book, at their website. Their batteries can be found at the Swaner Preserve gift shop.