Coral products distributor buys Carson City facility |

Coral products distributor buys Carson City facility

Anne Knowles

The first thing Jason DeWitt wants you to know is Coral LLC’s calcium-packed product line is made from long-dead coral.

“We never kill coral. It’s been thousands of years since it’s been alive,” says DeWitt, who with his father Clint DeWitt founded and operates the Carson City maker of supplements, toothpaste and water treatments.

The 19-year-old manufacturer recently moved from Mound House to an 8,500-square-foot building the company purchased with the help of Nevada State Development Corp. and Wells Fargo Bank. The company put down 10 percent and the bank provided about 60 percent of the low-interest Small Business Administration 504 loan while NSDC supplied the remaining 40 percent.

“Now we pay just a few hundred more to own,” says DeWitt, managing partner.

Coral for the first time was able to add a loading dock to its headquarters at the new facility. The company, including eight employees and four office dogs, operates out of about half the building and leases the remaining space to Afton Medical LLC, a medical device maker.

Last month Coral won the Editor’s Choice Award at SupplySide West, a trade show for heath industry suppliers, for its latest product, Coral Joint & Collagen Support.

The company took its $12,000 General Electric bone density scanner to the show, which it uses to demonstrate the benefits of getting calcium from its coral-based products, mainly to chiropractors who are big customers.

Coral started as a reseller of calcium-rich teabags made by a Japanese maker.

“We took it one step further and put it into a capsule,” says DeWitt.

The company moved into other products, including toothpaste, and sells them through health food stores, large chains such as Vitamin Shoppe and Vitamin World as well as a network of independent retailers. Its next product will be an antacid. But more than two-thirds of its sales are of raw materials for use in water filters, agriculture and food products.

The company owns the rights to and mines all its coral at an above-water coral mine in the Dominican Republic.

“It’s like an open pit mine, it goes on for miles,” says DeWitt.

And it is environmentally friendly.

“The Friends of the Sea (a non-profit protecting marine habitat) has certified us,” DeWitt says.