Originally Published by The New York Times
ePlastics Plastic Fabricator, San Diego, CA
The phones at ePlastics started ringing nonstop in late March with calls from customers seeking masks, plexiglass dividers and other protective devices. The deluge hasn’t let up.
“Nobody was prepared for this,” said John Short, the general manager of the 106-year-old plastics manufacturing business. “Everyone was typing into Google search terms for ‘barriers’ and ‘shields,’ and we got calls from all over the world.”
EPlastics had to close its retail showroom, which stocks plastic products ranging from building supplies to wine glasses, for about a month as it navigated California’s shutdown rules and figured out how to protect its employees. In its workshop, though, fabrication continued nearly around the clock. Sourcing raw materials like acrylic and polycarbonate sheets was a constant challenge, Mr. Short said, because of global supply-chain disruptions.
Sales were 30 percent higher this year than in any previous year, and the company’s 52 workers put in plenty of overtime to keep up with demand, Mr. Short said. It has churned out more than 10,000 plastic barriers this year