The small office/warehouse of Natural Product Solutions in Timonium hardly suggests the national reach of the dietary supplement company, or the bigger things to come in 2015: agreements that could double its range, and a new spokeswoman who is a national brand name in advice on sex and relationships.
The men who own the company say they prefer running the eight-year-old operation lean: They now have four employees, including the president and vice president, but they might add two or three this year.
They’ve been riding a rising tide of dietary supplement sales, as Americans — despite the often skeptical views of medical doctors — seek help outside conventional medicine.
Most of the company’s VirMax products, which are made of herbs and naturally occurring chemicals, are designed to enhance sexual experience for men and women, treat the effects of prostate enlargement and boost energy.
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The line is not just for baby boomers. Natural Product Solutions sells a one-dose, two-pill package of its “Maximum Male Enhancement” meant mostly for men between 18 and 40.
Asked why men that age would need this sort of help — the pills are meant to treat erectile dysfunction and enhance sensation — President/CEO Marty Gallant said “sex can always be better.”
Consumers clearly like dietary supplements, natural and otherwise. The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. last year valued the U.S. vitamins and supplements market at $23 billion, and projected it would grow 5 or 6 percent a year through 2017.
Doctors interviewed for this story said there’s not sufficient evidence that supplements such as VirMax products can boost sexual function and testosterone levels.
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Gallant said the products have worked for him and, judging by sales, for many others. He’s a husky man of 64 who, along with Travis Pendergast, 35, vice president of sales, started Natural Product Solutions after leaving a similar company run by a urologist in Baltimore County who had lost his license to practice medicine. Gallant declined to name the doctor, who has since died.
Gallant gives Pendergast credit for the recent round of good sales news: agreements scheduled to take effect in the next three months to place VirMax products in CVS drug stores, Kmart and Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.
Gallant and Pendergast figure those deals alone should add about 10,000 stores to what they say is their current roster of 30,000, including Walgreens, Rite Aid, Giant and Harris Teeter. They’ve also forged a partnership with Kretek International, a California company that distributes cigars and other products to convenience stores, and which could put VirMax into another 30,000 to 50,000 stores by the end of the year.