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.