Date: April 3, 2020
As many other businesses start to wind down or close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a Valley plastic manufacturer, Artisan Packaging in Harrisonburg, is increasing production of its health care products to keep up with demand, according to Jay Veenis, the plant manager.
In a Wednesday interview, Veenis said the plant will be hiring 20 to 24 people to keep pace.
“We’re considered an essential business because we make pharmaceutical products and we also make hand sanitizer bottles,” Veenis said.
“That part of the business has actually skyrocketed,” he said.
The plant has plans for installing a new line in the next week or so, specifically to manufacture hand sanitizer bottles, according to Veenis.
He said the line should be turning out bottles in roughly a month.
The plant also picked up business from Revlon for 60 million units of hand sanitizer bottles for CVS Pharmacy.
From the plant, on the west side of downtown Harrisonburg, 500,000 hand sanitizer bottles will leave to be filled and then stocked at CVS locations across the nation.
Other retailers have also turned to Artisan Packaging for products.
“Partially, we’ve regained some of the customer relationships we’ve lost over the years,” Veenis said.
The plant has been designated a preferred supplier by several companies, and Veenis said business is good.
On June 4, the plant, which was at the time operated by multinational business Graham Packaging, notified its 115 employees that they would be laid off in three months.
By the end of August, Veenis and other local investors bought the plant and the land for $5.3 million and kept the employees, in addition to bringing on new staff.