Local Businesses Redirect Production to Help Fight Pandemic
The Coronavirus pandemic has turned life as we know it upside down. Distance learning, telecommuting, social distancing, and sheltering in place has become the new normal. Just as people have had to adjust, so have businesses.
Businesses, small and large, have had to be creative in finding ways to stay fiscally alive and productive. Among manufacturing businesses, many have found that the solutions lie close to home – utilizing the skills and resources at hand to manufacture products in high need and short supply during the pandemic: PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and sanitation products.
In San Leandro, several manufacturers have been working to redirect their primary focus to the public’s needs, contributing to the greater good by churning out products that are necessary to ensure public health during the pandemic.
T-shirt screen printing company Brand Marinade almost immediately started to manufacture face coverings after the Public Health Order went into effect. This ultimately culminated in the birth of Tmasks, a t-shirt upcycling effort powered by Brand Marinade, making it easy for consumers to gain access to their face masks.
Long-time San Leandro manufacturer Mr. Plastics shifted its production to acrylic sneeze shields, and protective barriers for reception desks, restaurants, retail stores, and more. Mr. Plastics has even begun production of barriers especially designed for schools and nail salons, ready for such a time when these are permitted to resume operations.
While not available for consumers to purchase directly, San Leandro legacy business Columbia Cosmetics has expanded its operations to include hand sanitizer production. Columbia Cosmetics manufactures products that are distributed to prestigious cosmetics retailers worldwide.
At LightHouse Industries (LHI), a team of blind and visually impaired employees assemble in a production line to fill bottles, pack pallets and load trucks. LightHouse supplies the federal government with paper napkins and toilet paper, as well as all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, and hard surface disinfectant. Orders for these products have been so plentiful that LightHouse has had to consider adding second shifts of employees to meet demand.
International non-profit MedShare has a mission to distribute excess medical supplies to those in need, including from their west coast distribution center here in San Leandro. While they often ship supplies to those in need across the globe, their focus now includes supporting medical clinics close to home. Those interested in learning more about their work can see a story and video highlighting their work, and their campaign to raise funds for much needed medical supplies.
Other San Leandro businesses are using their purchasing power and relationships with suppliers to obtain cleaning and safety supplies that have been in short supply during the lockdown. Castle & Carmel started up a separate division to sell a variety of items, including masks, thermometers, sanitizer stands, portable sinks, beds, mattresses and covers.
If you are a business looking for PPE or supplies, you can find a list of California manufacturers who make masks, sanitizers, gowns, gloves, face shields, plexiglass, partitions and wipes at https://www.safelymakingca.org/. Manufacturers may also add their information to the listing to let customers know what they have available.
The term “we are all in this together” has hardly ever rung truer than this. San Leandro can be proud of the dedication, creative resolve, and benevolence of its manufacturing community.