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Share Products Off To A Strong Start

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Share Products off to a strong start



Share Products has achieved its initial goal of sharing its profits with charitable organizations to help the homeless, but now the Ypsilanti-based company is carrying more products and looking to expand the number of homeless people it helps shelter and feed.

John W. Barfield, president of Share Products, said the company has gone from selling four products to 30 products. It also has given the Salvation Army $20,000 for its missions in Detroit, Dallas and Tennessee. That money has provided 16,000 meals.

The 66-year-old Barfield recently turned his attention to the Share Products line after establishing himself as a successful business owner. The former University of Michigan janitor developed an auto parts and services company that became the nation’s 15th-largest African-American owned firm during the 1980s.

Share Products was started a year ago as Amy Products. The first two products sold were microwave popcorn and garbage bags. Now it sells products such as powdered soft drinks, instant oatmeal, antiseptic mouthwash, baby shampoo, baby powder, baby oil and fingernail polish remover.

The company is literally a labor of love for Barfield. He doesn't collect a salary.

Share Products makes me feel better than anything I've done in my life,” Barfield said.

“We measure our success by the number of nourishing meals and nights of safe lodging we provide.”

Another thing that pleases Barfield is the interest that retailers and manufacturers have taken in Share Products.

“We’ve had manufacturers come to us and say they’re interested,” Barfield said.

That’s what led to the substantial growth in the number of goods Share Products is selling. The products are being sold in seven states: Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas.

The stores that are carrying the products include Meijer, Spartan, Busch’s Valu Land, F&M, Pathmart, Kroger, D&W Food Centers and all Kmart stores in Michigan, Barfield said.

Share’s goal for its second year in business is to identify the best-selling products and find new products to replace those not selling well.

Moreover, Share Products hopes the newly packaged products and the cause will motivate people to buy the products. Barfield stressed that Share Products doesn’t accept donations, it contributes through profits off its sales.

“All of this is being done without subsidies from anyone,” Barfield said. “It’s not a beggar’s program.”