PODCAST: Ohio businesses switch manufacturing gears to fight COVID-19

Written on May 21, 2020

By Abigail Draper, OSCPA communication & engagement manager

While many businesses have been forced to close completely, others have discovered they can stay open by manufacturing in-demand supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are businesses in Ohio making a difference this way, including Watershed Distillery, Jergens Inc and an Etsy shop called “Grizzlee3D.”

Representatives from these companies joined us on the latest episode of The State of Business to discuss what they’re doing and how this has changed processes and outlook for employees.

Shifting Gears

 

Employees and owners were concerned at first, but morale went up when they realized they could still work and make a difference.

“Morale sunk pretty quickly,” said Greg Lehman, founder and CEO of Watershed Distillery. “Then as soon as we started making it and realized people really need this stuff, they (became) pumped that we're making it. We could hire a couple people back that we had to let go, so it’s been a real positive thing for us.”

The company representatives said it feels good to be able to help during the crisis.

Lee Bowling, owner of Grizzlee3D, said, “I come from the military where I actually worked in the hospital and so I understood the importance of having that PPE. And then when I found out there was such a short supply of it, that's when I felt like I found something I could do to help at least make things a tiny bit better.”


PPE

Jergens Inc. opened in 1942 and Jack Schron, president, was able to compare this experience with what the company experienced during World War II.

Hand sanitizer

“Our company had produced product in the Second World War for making the Hellcat and Wildcat aircraft,” Schron said. “So, it's kind of nice to tell them that those experiences of our forefathers of our company are the same experiences we're going through right now, just a different kind of enemy.”

To hear more, listen to the podcast now.

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PHOTOS: Top: Jergens employee happy to help by making screwdrivers during the pandemic.

Middle: Lee Bowling donating face shields to local medical facility.

Bottom: Watershed Distillery’s finished hand sanitizer product.

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