“There were times when we didn’t know if we were going to be able to weather this, but it has been interesting to see the business flex and shift where we need to, to keep ourselves viable.” – Andrea Beagle, Office Manager.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, Gary Manufacturing included. Learning that we are among a few lucky businesses’s considered to be essential, Gary Manufacturing is navigating the COVID waters and striving to come out on the other side with strengths we didn’t know we had prior to this year.
March 19, 2020, was the day California Governor Newsom announced a state-wide shutdown, restricting all non-essential businesses to close in an attempt to fight the rapid growth of COVID-19. That evening the management staff had to make phone calls to all employees that the company would remain closed for an unforeseen amount of time.
After being closed for one business day, several key essential customers requested that we stay open as we were one of their essential suppliers. The team at Gary was thrilled to be considered an essential business. Being able to bring employees back to work immediately was a great source of pride for us, however, it felt risky not knowing what was coming next.
First order of business was safety. Shifting from a close-knit group to a more individualized setting was a hard, but necessary change for the Gary staff to make. In addition to splitting lunch and break shifts, we created clear barriers and socially distanced workstations. Daily temperature and welfare checks were implemented in the mornings before reporting to work.
There have been many difficulties along the way but maintaining employee safety has been the main priority. Not all employees felt comfortable returning to work right away. Temporary workers were hired and trained. Extra communication with customers was needed to be able to produce essential products in a timely manner. Gary Manufacturing has been building strong relationships with both clients and vendors for many years. During this time, we have relied heavily on those relationships to see us through.
From a Human Resources point of view, navigating constant changes in regulations and staying compliant has been one of the hardest parts of the year. At the start of the pandemic, no one really knew what was going to happen. Federal guidelines have changed many times, keeping up with that no easy task, but as an essential business, it was now our job to make sure we could safely remain open.
Even though it has been a struggle, there have been many positives for the business. Gary Manufacturing has learned that it was more adaptable than we ever knew. Being able to end the year with the doors open and to provide a stable job for her employees has been Kerri Smith’s, General Manager, proudest accomplishment of 2020.
Gary has been able to adapt both internally with staff and externally in their product offerings. Utilizing technology for virtual meetings, working from home when possible, and reducing contact with others on-site has been imperative to stay safe.
Gary Manufacturing evolved our shower curtain line to include barrier curtains for pop-up hospitals, restaurants, or anywhere that needs to offer protective barriers between people.
Since learning of its essentiality, Gary Manufacturing is looking forward to continuing growth in these essential sectors of the economy:
Gary Manufacturing recognizes that very few businesses have been lucky enough to remain open during COVID and is thankful for the continued support of our customers and the hard work of the staff. We look forward to continuing to bring quality products and superior customer service in 2021 and beyond.