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Entrepreneur strives to get it clean _ but keep it green

Joel C. Melvin, who is known professionally as Mr. GreenCleans, believes in capitalism. He also believes in elbow grease.

But most of all, he believes in improving the environment.

Melvin's environmentally safe house-cleaning business, called Mr. GreenCleans, is operated out of his home in St. Petersburg. It opened just a few weeks ago.

By day, he is Mr. GreenCleans, taking care of his clients' messes; by night, he is a waiter at the Hurricane restaurant in Pass-a-Grille.

"I first realized my concern for the environment when I was around 14," said Melvin, 24. "This, combined with the facts that I'm a very, very neat person and lessons my father taught me in the value of owning your own business made me realize I wanted to open Mr. GreenCleans."

Melvin acknowledges that without Earth-damaging detergents, it can get tough to beat hard-to-handle dirt. What trade secrets will he share?

"Well, my secret begins with the top," he said. "In any dirty room, you start there and work your way down.

"I work on stains, with a base beginning with baking soda and lemon juice. Add water, scrub hard, let it soak and just be patient. Let it sit."

You can make an appointment with Mr. GreenCleans at 327-8415.

Salesman of the year

at Best Audio Visual

Felix Figueruelo was named salesman of the year at Best Audio Visual Inc. Felix is head of the sales department.

Branch office manager

for First Gulf Bank

Terry A. Benham has been named assistant vice president and branch office manager for First Gulf Bank, St. Petersburg. Before the appointment, Benham was vice president at First Florida Bank in Largo.

Do you have St. Petersburg-area business news? Please send it to Piper Jones, Business News Department, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Photos may be sent, but they will not all be used and they cannot be returned.