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Story #71Aunt Fannie’sGreenville, SC

Yes we’re providing a service, we’re providing a product, but it’s also about how we can educate people about reducing toxicity from their lives, making themselves healthier, and reducing a lot of the allergies and autoimmune diseases that are present in our children today, and in our own lives. That’s a big deal.

“I had no real goal other than as kind of a vengeful hobbyist trying to figure something out for my own use,” says Mat Franken of his first forays into creating a home remedy to treat a severe fruit fly infestation in his home. Four years later, he has created what is now known as FlyPunch!, a non-toxic liquid formula that attracts and kills fruit flies naturally. The product is part of his brand Aunt Fannie’s larger mission of impacting the global food supply chain by ensuring that the products used around food are not harmful to our health.

It wasn’t until he gave a batch of the mixture to a friend who was blown away by the results that Franken realized he may be on to something. He noticed a distinct lack of non-toxic products like his on the market that were actually effective. Furthermore, Franken and his son both suffer from severe food, environmental, and chemical allergies, making this a topic that resonates with him both ethically and personally.

Franken was fortunate to have a lot of support early on, first and foremost, from his college friend, and now Aunt Fannie’s Executive Vice President, Adam Wilczeweski. A former Chief of Staff to the International Trade Administration who was appointed by President Obama himself, Wilczeweski left his government position to work with Franken. “I immediately knew that there was something to this that was unique,” he says.

The pair sees themselves not only as proponents of living a healthy lifestyle, from what you eat to what products you use in your household, but also as ambassadors for the town of Greenville, S.C., where their company is based. “We see ourselves as part of the fabric of this community, as the next stepping stone in the companies that are being built,” says Franken.

Personal and professional goals are very much intertwined for Franken and Wilczewesk. “There isn’t a moment in any day where work isn’t involved,” says Franken. “I think there’s a rhythm to that, there is an all-encompassing passion that has to be part of what you do in order to be able to pull that off and do it successfully.”

Photos by Christina Clusiau

  • Mat Franken, founder of Aunt Fannie’s, visits Sunland Logistics Solutions, where FlyPunch! is packaged and shipped in Greenville, S.C.

  • Anthony Goodin, COO of Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch!, visits Custom Chemical Corporation where FlyPunch! is manufactured.

  • Jars of Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! are manufactured at Custom Chemical Corporation in Greenville, S.C. Mat Franken relocated his company to Greenville because the city has “a huge international manufacturing program.”

  • A worker at Custom Chemical Corporation in Greenville S.C., where FlyPunch! is manufactured.

  • Members of the Aunt Fannie’s team at their workspace. In addition to founder Mat Franken and Executive Vice President Adam Wilczeweski, the company has five full-time employees.

  • Mat Franken, founder of Aunt Fannie’s, and the company’s Executive Vice President, Adam Wilczeweski, at their workspace. Wilczeweski, who was friends with Franken in college, left his government job to work for Aunt Fannie’s because he believed so strongly in the company’s mission.

  • Mat Franken, founder of Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! at his workspace in Greenville, S.C. Franken came up with the FlyPunch! mixture after 4 years of tinkering around at home, trying to cure a fruit fly infestation. After seeing how effective it was, and with the encouragement of friends, he decided to start his own small business.

  • “The brand Aunt Fannie’s is modeled after a generation and culture that we feel is something we want to harken back to,” says founder Mat Franken. “Particularly the resourcefulness we saw in the 1940's in America. The ‘use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without’ type of mentality.”

  • Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! on display at Whole Foods in Greenville, S.C. FlyPunch! is distributed in a number of grocery stores, bars, restaurants - pretty much wherever there is food - around the United States and internationally. Since the product is entirely non-toxic and natural, it can be sold in the produce department alongside fruit and vegetables as well as in the cleaning aisle.

  • Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! on display at Whole Foods in Greenville, S.C. Created by Mat Franken in 2012, FlyPunch! is a non-toxic liquid formula that attracts and kills fruit flies.

Business Details

Proprietor: Mat Franken
Greenville, SC
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