For E.T. Browne – the small, family-owned manufacturer of Palmer’s® personal care products – it means pivoting its business to make medical hand sanitizer for U.S. military personnel and medical first responders.
The decision to repurpose its factory in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, from making lip balm and body lotion to making hand sanitizer wasn’t the hardest part for E.T. Browne. It was obtaining key ingredients like IPA, which is in high demand due to the global emergency.
Without IPA, E.T. Browne would not only be unable to make the hand sanitizer, but it also faced the prospect of shutting down its factory, which employs nearly 300 workers.
That’s when ExxonMobil, whose Baton Rouge chemical facility is home to the world’s largest plant producing IPA, agreed to help.
ExxonMobil is maximizing its supply of IPA and other chemical products used in making a range of essential tools in the fight against COVID-19.
The first shipment of E.T. Browne’s medical-grade hand sanitizer is expected to go out Friday, April 10, to the Army and Airforce Exchange Service and the Lehigh Valley (Pa.) Health Network.
ExxonMobil is also planning donations to other area hospitals.
And E.T. Browne’s 280 hourly employees are able to continue working to help meet society’s needs during the pandemic.
“Our business was facing extreme uncertainty – we had never seen anything like this,” said Jordan Nissensohn, director of special projects at E.T. Browne. “Pivoting to produce hand sanitizer, and securing the isopropyl alcohol that goes into it, is the biggest source of optimism we have today.”
For ExxonMobil, supplying isopropyl alcohol is standard business, but doing so in this case required a swift response and a high priority.
“Once we saw what E.T. Browne was facing, and what it was trying to achieve, we knew we needed to respond, and do it quickly,” said Greg Bass, Americas Fluids product manager, ExxonMobil Chemical Company.
Isopropyl alcohol is just one of many products helping to keep medical workers safe and people healthy. IPA, as an effective disinfectant, can be found in hand sanitizers, alcohol wipes and disinfectant sprays – products that are important in fighting the spread of COVID-19.