The Coronavirus gave businesses two choices when it interrupted life as we knew it: wait and see if the storm passes or lead the charge through the storm. Gold Eagle, among many manufacturers, chose the latter. This 4th generation family business, built on the manufacturing and marketing of engine additives and surface cleaners, treatments and protectants, has put a whole new spin on the term “hero.”
Illinois continues to see manufacturers like Gold Eagle rise to the challenge of finding a way to stay in business and keep their employees safe. Gold Eagle prides itself on having a healthy, happy, and productive workforce. Even amid a crisis when business is slow, they still find a way to honor their number one asset, their people, all while contributing to a greater cause.
They have shifted their operations from production of automotive, marine, outdoor power and home products to produce an FDA- and WHO-approved hand sanitizer and repurposed their iconic STA-BIL measure chamber bottle to be filled with the new product. It is affectionately named Heroes’ Hand Sanitizer in honor of their employees who risk their own health and safety to produce and distribute this product, and the frontline heroes who will use it. In order to produce Heroes’, Gold Eagle had to strap on their entrepreneurial boots and quickly demonstrate their agility. They took the necessary steps to ensure they created a product that was not only effective, but also celebrates their people, our frontline heroes and even their hometown – the City of Chicago. The process required that they:
- Obtained all the necessary permits and licenses.
- Adapted operation to enable the efficient blending and packaging of multiple sizes and delivery systems.
- Cleverly branded a product that represents the City of Chicago and the unsung heroes.
- Working with distributors to supply frontline businesses like healthcare facilities, municipalities, restaurants, hospitality, grocery, etc.
With a goal to ultimately get Heroes’ in the hands of those who need it the most, they have utilized existing distribution channels, current customers, and network connections. Actively seeking more ways to get this product to frontline workers, Gold Eagle came across IMEC’s Supply Chain Preparedness Support service. Since then, their ability to produce this much needed product has been assessed and confirmed, and they have been passed on to Governor Pritzker’s Essential Equipment Task Force so they can place Heroes’ Hand Sanitizer in the hands of those on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle. Currently, Gold Eagle is in talks with the City of Chicago to supply them with Heroes’ Hand Sanitizer.
Marc Blackman, CEO of Gold Eagle sees the upside of the COVID-19 crisis as a learning opportunity: “Learning a new way of operating; becoming nimbler and more entrepreneurial; having the chance to reflect on a new norm that is developing and how our company can best take advantage of the likely business realities in the short and longer term. We are also becoming comfortable being uncomfortable as we deal with the unknown and great uncertainty. These are all good muscles for us to exercise in our evolution as a company.”
Since the production of Heroes’, Gold Eagle employees have expressed much pride and appreciation for being a part of a company that is producing a vital product and making a strong effort to keep them safe. Illinois is also proud to have another COVID-19 manufacturing hero.
If you are a manufacturer who can supply any of the more than 20 critical supplies identified by the Governor's Task Force, please let us know so we can connect you with those in need!