Gojo working around the clock to keep up with hand sanitizer demand

By April Hall
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A third-generation family business is front and center in the fight against COVID-19.

GOJO Industries developed Purell hand sanitizer in 1988 and the product is in dispensers in schools, building lobbies, bathrooms and hospitals around the world, as well as bottles in homes, briefcases and purses. As the coronavirus was discovered in the United States, there was a run on the product, which sold out completely in many cities.

The company, based in Akron, Ohio, was founded in 1946 by husband and wife Jerry and Goldie Lippman. Third-generation member Marcella Kanfer Rolnick is GOJO’s executive chair.

“Over the last few weeks, we have continued to see very significant increase in demand. Many millions of hand sanitizers, hand sanitizing wipes and hand soap are moving out our doors every day at a record pace,” said Samantha Williams, GOJO’s corporate communications senior director, in a statement. “We are identifying ways to increase capacity everyday as well. We have added shifts and have team members working overtime,” at plants in Ohio and France.

“We have increased production significantly and our GOJO team members are working hard to ensure people have the Purell and GOJO products they need. We have a demand surge preparedness team that runs in the background all the time, who have been fully activated and are coordinating our response to the increase in demand.”

As the manufacturer of hand sanitizers — an over-the-counter drug regulated by the FDA — GOJO representatives are not allowed to make claims about the efficacy of the company’s products against coronavirus or any other virus. Such a statement would be an off-label claim, which is prohibited under the FDA rules.

However, “While COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, under the Environmental Protection Agency’s emerging pathogen guidance, our Purell surface spray can be used to kill COVID-19 on hard, nonporous surfaces when used in accordance with the directions and a one-minute contact time,” Williams said.

“We have experienced several demand surges in the past and some have gone on for many months,” Williams said. “Over the last few weeks, we have continued to see very significant increase in demand. Many millions of hand sanitizers, hand sanitizing wipes and hand soap are moving out our doors every day at a record pace. We are identifying ways to increase capacity everyday as well. We have added shifts and have team members working overtime — in accordance with our plans for situations like this.” 

 
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