Meet Robiar Smith, a native of Southside Chicago and the CEO of R.B. Premium Products, which produces the popular bug spray product called Bug Strike. Her product is the first and only Black woman-owned pest control product to grace the shelves of Home Depot stores.
Growing up, Smith’s parents instilled in her the value of education and hard work. She followed their advice, earning multiple degrees in Business and Information Technology and climbing the corporate ladder. However, in 2015, she felt the need for more.
In 2016, she decided to enter the pest control industry after the encouragement of her father, Michael Benton, who had been a pest control technician in Chicago for decades. She took the extermination exam and passed it after a few attempts. She then founded R.B. Pest Solutions, and her passion for pest control ignited.
“When we started the company, and we’d go out on jobs, people were surprised to see me actually doing the work,” she told the Chicago Defender.
Over seven years, R.B. Pest Solutions has become the fastest-growing pest control company in the Midwest, securing government, city, commercial, restaurant, and facilities contracts. They’re expanding beyond Chicago into Indiana and planning a third location in the city.
What’s more, she launched R.B. Premium Products, including a bug spray called “Bug Strike,” which is now available at Home Depot. This achievement made her the only Black woman-owned product on Home Depot’s shelves, and it even gained recognition at the BET Awards.
For Smith, this partnership with Home Depot is more than just business; it’s about leaving a legacy and inspiring young Black girls from urban areas. She’s also passing on her knowledge to her daughters, ensuring that they can continue to nurture the business.
Despite challenges in a male-dominated industry, Smith’s determination to create a seat at the table has inspired others. She’s proud to support her community by partnering with local vendors and businesses, creating opportunities for them to thrive.
“The representation drives me, and as a result, these accolades confirm that I’m doing God’s work. They let me know I’m doing the right thing, she said.
Learn more about their products and services via their official website at TheRBPremiumProducts.com
Also, be sure to follow them on Instagram @R.B.PestSolutions