Good News: Filling the Sanitizer Gap

Michigan chemical company dedicates 25% of facility to community need

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, hand sanitizer was among the first items to see a nationwide shortage.

Haviland Enterprises, Inc., a Grand Rapids, Michigan, manufacturer of specialty chemicals for the pool, spa and industrial plating industries, took action. By the end of March, 25% of production was adjusted to create alcohol-based hand sanitizer that the company has donated to local nursing homes, police departments, fire departments, daycares, hospice centers and more.

“Our hope was to reach the hundreds of small community organizations that are supporting the lives of others and don’t have large purchasing departments or supplier networks to secure the sanitizer they need to keep their employees, residents and communities safe,” says Meg Post, vice president of finance for Haviland.

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Haviland’s initial goal was to produce 6,000 gallons of sanitizer per week but, as of late April, was increasing that to 15,000 gallons per week through a partnership with Plymouth Technology, a manufacturer of boiler, cooling and reverse osmosis treatment chemicals in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

“In less than two weeks, we were able to work with Haviland to source the specialty denaturant and utilize our connections in ethanol to source significant volumes of product that will allow us to manufacture weekly batches of hand sanitizer utilizing Haviland’s facility in Kalamazoo and Plymouth’s facility in Rochester Hills,” says Amanda Richie, CEO of Plymouth Technology.

“The requests for donated material and from businesses looking to purchase hand sanitizer have been overwhelming,” Post says. “We’re trying to produce as quickly as possible because the demand is so urgent.” The company is also working to make other cleaning and sanitizing products “We’ll continue to look for ways to share our chemical expertise with those around us,” Post says. “Being able to support these organizations holds a special place for us, and we’ll keep supporting them until we’re not able to or until the need no longer exists.”