Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.”
– T.S. Eliot
In general, when entrepreneurs embark upon business plans, their tact is to stick with the plan at hand and not stray off in different directions. Ever heard of mission creep? But desperate times call for desperate measures, which is exactly what we are experiencing right now.
During this time of quarantine, local companies are stepping up to accommodate the needs of the health and wellness industry, similar to what we have witnessed during times of war. And let’s face it, we’re fighting the battle of our lifetime.
I recently learned about three local businesses that were doing their part of make hand sanitizer, which can be difficult to find in some stores. These inventive owners have altered their business models to provide a product that everyone is trying to get their hands on – a product that is helping to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Since the start of the quarantine, Buffalo Distilling Co. has shifted away from its usual bar and restaurant business, and is now producing hand sanitizer instead. The company is still producing its renowned spirits, and now uses by-products from alcohol production to create hand sanitizer.
Another local company, The Elma Press, immediately joined in to help with label printing – each bottle of hand sanitizer dons the same “One Foot Cock” logo brandished on Buffalo Distilling Co.’s bottles that include bourbon, brandy, and vodka.
The idea to create hand sanitizer came from head distiller Kevin Ford. Throughout the company’s four-day alcohol production process, the yield is 25 gallons of hand sanitizer, which the distillery sells to the public, including first responders and medical personnel.
“We’re really proud to help,” said Roy Bakos, director of hospitality. “Knowing that there are people out there that we could be helping literally stay alive and not get sick… it gives all of us some hope, seeing how the world can actually band together and do good things during a time of crisis and need.”
Buffalo Women’s Consortium (BWC) is a new business, which co-founders Holly Metz Doyle and Jen Stockman opened in February in the Market Arcade. BWC is made of a group of local female artists and artisans; each member creates handmade or repurposed items.
A month after opening, the duo had to adapt their business model to meet their current economic needs. They have since begun using a virtual model for sales. Metz Doyle and Stockman brought home items from the store and built out micro stores in their respective home basements.
The two crafty entrepreneurs also began creating and delivering hand sanitizer all over WNY, but have had difficulties sourcing bottles for their sanitizer. They are now thinking of potentially using droppers instead of spray bottles for distribution, to continue servicing the needs of the community.
The duo creates their hand sanitizer with high-grade isopropyl alcohol, organic vegetable-based glycerin, and organic essential oils. The sanitizers are available in orange, rosemary and eucalyptus scents.
Niagara Craft Spirits is owned by distillers Joe Nardecchia and Todd Snyder. The two are currently giving away ethanol-based hand sanitizer that they distilled using products (ethanol carefully distilled from local Niagara County wine and/or corn) from the Niagara Wine Trail. The overarching plan is to produce 50 gallons of sanitizer.
What makes this plan so special is that they welcome people in need to bring their own 6 oz. containers to fill free of charge, once per day on weekends. Their goal is also to increase the distribution to local wineries, to fulfill their hand sanitizer needs seven days a week.
“Let’s all do our part to keep a healthy, caring and sharing society,” they said. “We at Niagara Craft Spirits will do all we can to help.”
Niagara Craft Spirits | Niagara Wine Trail | 4408 Ridge Road (Rt 104) in Cambria, New York.