Kai’s Organics Retools to Produce Hand Sanitizer at Santa Rosa, California, Complex
"We heard about a local hospital chain that was literally struggling to supply their doctors and nurses with hand sanitizer," says Annette Rogers, owner of Kai's Virgin Vapor. "Hand sanitizer is sold out across the country and even major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart are out of stock. People in areas hit hard by the coronavirus aren't able to find it."
Kai's Virgin Vapor has been in business since 2010 and is located in a business park a block from the Santa Rosa airport. According to Kai's Organics officials, “because the company is a certified organic handling facility and already had mixing and bottling equipment on hand along with 10 years of experience in laboratory quality control, it was able to quickly step in to help with the country wide shortage.”
"We went from the idea to producing 300 bottles an hour in less than a week," says Operations Director, Tod Stebbins. "In the 14 days since we started shipping, we've shipped hand sanitizer to 43 states around the country to a total of 405 different cities along with England, Japan, Canada and Australia."
Along with shipping hand sanitizer to customers across the country, the company is donating it to food banks, at risk children and other worthy causes. For local Santa Rosa residents, they offer free pick up at their facility, as long as customers follow social distancing rules by standing back six feet while the company places the order on a table outside the front door.
Stebbins notes the extreme supply chain shortages he has been battling, with spray bottles and alcohol in short supply and many prices going through the roof.
"Shipping costs have doubled in recent weeks as trucking companies jack up prices to account for the risk to their drivers," says Stebbins. "In addition, raw materials providers are upping prices or imposing large minimums but we just keep on fighting."
The company is offering discounts to businesses purchasing by the case to supply their employees and is scrambling to find other ways to keep costs down.
"We just added gallon and half gallon refill sizes to help reduce costs," says Stebbins, "As demand has gone through the roof it is also enabling us to slowly attain better economies of scale."
The company says it sold over 800 bottles of hand sanitizer in the first two hours that it made it available on its website. They're also producing hand sanitizer for the City of Novato, La Tortilla Factory and others to supply field workers who are at particularly high risk.
"We are getting a lot of orders from New York," notes Annette. "We've had several customers call to tell us that despite the great need due to New York being especially hard hit by the virus, they are unable to find hand sanitizer anywhere in the city. We are working with a company in New York to add a quick ship option to get hand sanitizer to people in New York and are working around the clock and through the weekend to keep up with demand."
On the Hunt for a Productive New Biomanufacturing Site?
Labor Challenges in the Industrial and Manufacturing Sectors Persist
Workforce Q4 2021
Changes in the Incentives Landscape
Talent-Based Location Strategies
Workforce Q4 2021
Solutions for Decisively Navigating the Location Decision
2021 Gold & Silver Shovel Awards Recognize State and Local Economic Development Efforts