State’s largest industrial distributor of sanitizers ‘basically wiped out of product’

Updated: Mar. 10, 2020 at 5:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - At Triple F Distributing all that’s left of the hand sanitizers and disinfecting products it sells are samples.

Fears about the coronavirus significantly increased orders from customers and emptied the warehouse.

“There’s spray bottles. There’s gallons that you can mix. There’s a lot of different sanitizing options out there. Right now we’re getting hit pretty hard and are basically wiped out of product,” company President Chris Yankowski said.

As the state’s largest distributor Triple F sells cleaning supplies and paper products to thousands of businesses and clients from restaurants to hotels to high-rises.

"We pretty much service everybody," Yankowski said.

Demand for disinfecting chemicals started going up two weeks ago, putting pressure on manufacturers and slowing delivery to distributors throughout the U.S. who are standing in line for resupplies.

"The manufacturers are the ones who are also being pressed to push out more product," Yankowski siad.

Triple F is expecting its next shipment of sanitizing and disinfecting chemicals to arrive in about 10 days. Almost all of it will leave the warehouse as soon as it’s off-loaded.

At Kleenco Group, CEO Scott Paul said customers are driving the demand for enhanced disinfection and sanitizing services. So janitorial and maintenance companies are ordering more supplies.

"It's CEOs of businesses who are worried about maintaining continuity of operations, keeping their workforce healthy, as well as companies that have a public-facing side. They want to make sure they're doing their part." he said.

He bought an electrostatic spray machine that more effectively disperses disinfectants. Kleenco has used it to disinfect an entire school campus.

"We're going in regularly to some of the commercial offices and spraying down the high-touch areas, doorknobs, lobby entrances, bathrooms and the like," he said.

Despite increased demand for sanitizing products Yankowski said Triple F needs to be careful not to over-order and to make sure clients don't hoard.

"If you order it you need to take it. We're not going to take it back. Obviously that could happen if this thing comes to an end and they're sitting on product," he said.

After the next order arrives, it could be another two weeks before Triple F gets another shipment.

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