In March 2020, METSUCO, and every company in the world, started to feel the impact of COVID-19. Not just financially. Our way of doing business had to change. The virus was bringing about new social interaction norms, questions about how to work safely, and thoughts of how to work more remotely.
As we started looking at how to adapt our own business, we also started hearing from some clients. “Can you get hand sanitizer?” “Do you have gloves by any chance?” “I’m completely out of disinfectant, any idea who carries that?”
As a niche distribution company, we had never been asked about these types of products before. Items that used to be plentiful at every grocery, hardware, and general supply store were now scarce. Amazon Prime now meant 3 weeks if you’re lucky! And we found ourselves in the same situation, no hand sanitizer, no gloves, no disinfectant. So we decided to leverage our core competency for sourcing products to try and find relevant items to help other businesses stay safe during the crisis.
We started asking our customers which products they were having a difficult time sourcing. It didn’t matter that we didn’t traditionally sell something, we wanted to know what the need was and see if we could help. The biggest ask at first was for masks. I’ll admit we were very unsuccessful in getting those at first, even non-medical related ones. But we began getting in touch with our vendors that could supply cleaning items and PPE. We also looked at new vendors and who manufactured these supplies. We quickly found out hand sanitizer is not just hand sanitizer. Is it FDA approved? Does it have proper labeling? Or is it some guy down the street that mixed grain alcohol with aloe vera? Seriously, people have been doing that and selling it.
We ultimately became distributors of Ecolab. Not only a reputable and trustworthy source, but one that had taken the proper steps to make sure the disinfectant was EPA-certified for killing SARS related viruses. One that made sure its hand sanitizer was FDA approved. Ecolab is a company we are proud to rep. We already were distributors of AMMEX gloves, so we started stocking up on those, though lead times certainly went out. We also started selling Big Wipes, which are heavy-duty wipes that can remove anything from water and oil-based paints to stubborn adhesives.
These products are outside of our traditional lines, but we’re happy to offer them to try and help our customers out with our new norm. It is vastly important that the proper safety precautions are put in place in order to prevent further large outbreaks. Because of this, we are also looking at offering disinfecting services for offices and warehouses. It’s something new, but we know our customers will need it as the economy opens.
And if you are having any issues sourcing cleaning or PPE items or anything else for that matter, please let us know. It’s a difficult time for everybody right now, and we want to help where we can.