North Carolina companies switch gears to pitch in against COVID-19


All across the state, companies in ElectriCities public power communities are demonstrating manufacturing agility by retooling to produce hand sanitizer and masks to help in the battle against COVID-19.

In the public power community of Kinston, Mother Earth Brewing, known for its award-winning craft beer, solar-made spirits, and spiked seltzer, is manufacturing hand sanitizer for nursing home patients and healthcare workers battling on the front lines of the global pandemic. So far, the brewery has filled more than 1,400 12 oz bottles of Mother Earth Spirits’ hand sanitizer for 50 nursing homes across North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky.

Over in Morganton, a consortium of area businesses, led by the Carolina Textile District manufacturing network, is using reclaimed furniture fabric to make N95 mask covers, which they say will help extend the life of the masks. Because of the limited supply of masks, healthcare workers often wear them longer than recommended.

In Pineville, New York-based Strong Manufacturing has a medical mask production facility. “Our soldiers of today are the doctors and nurses,” said Alan Bagliore, CEO of Strong. Other North Carolina-based manufacturing companies have accelerated or shifted production of masks and other supplies to help address the outbreak, including Honeywell and Owens & Minor.

Statesville’s Southern Distilling Company, a craft liquor distiller, has shifted its focus from producing alcoholic beverages to manufacturing significant quantities of hand sanitizer for first responders, healthcare providers, essential businesses and other agencies needing the product. The distillery will create 32 oz sanitizer refill bottles containing 80% alcohol and manufactured to the approved World Health Organization specifications, the company says.

In Fayetteville, AEC Consumer Products is also producing hand sanitizer and distributing through Amazon. Sales are surging and the company has had to hire extra workers to meet demand. The product contains benzalkonium chloride, a compound that destroys microorganisms. The company is producing 3,000 gallons of hand sanitizer a day and shipping to all 50 states.

And in High Point, Culp, Incorporated, a bedding and upholstery fabric manufacturer for the mattress industry, has retooled their business model to help meet the high demand for face coverings. In the coming weeks, the company expects to produce more than one million 100% cotton, 3-layer antimicrobial masks for national distribution.

ElectriCities salutes all these companies and our public power communities that support them for stepping up at this time of need!

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