Make your home page

Greenwood company saves employees’ jobs with switch to mask distribution

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A semi truck loaded with 500,000 masks that are in high demand pulled up to a Greenwood warehouse Wednesday afternoon.

The truck was supposed to have a police escort coming into Greenwood, but the driver made better time than expected coming from Chicago.

When the national emergency in response to the current public health crisis was declared, the business model that had supported Rubber Products Distributors hit a brick wall. A majority of the family-owned business’ customers are in the now shuttered auto and truck manufacturing industry.

The company employs 35 to 40 people full-time and it was on the verge of laying off a dozen or more due to the economic slow down.

The company has existing relationships with suppliers overseas that are now producing PPEs instead of truck and car parts.

Through a series of conversations, the company found millions of masks ready for import to the United States.

The first 500,000 masks will leave the warehouse Thursday morning and make their way to health care facilities nationwide, including the state of Indiana.

Yes the company is selling them at a profit, but by doing so, according to the company’s business development manager Brock James, they are keeping their entire workforce intact and off the unemployment lines.

“You are not only talking about your personal livelihood but we have 35-40 employees in our facility and you are faced with having to make the hard decision of who do we need to keep as an essential employee to facilitate what business we do have left all the while being a family-owned business it operates much differently than a large fortune 500 company. A lot of our relationships with our employees go back 25- 30 years,” said James.

The company has ordered close to 2 million masks that will be delivered over the next couple of days.