Retailers looking to nab cleaning supplies and sanitizer before reopening

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Retailers are preparing to reopen this week, but finding the necessary cleaning supplies and protective gear is becoming a challenge for some.

Distributors say it all starts from the top. There’s simply not enough cleaning supplies, protective gear and sanitizer being made nationally.

Lamers, a local company which distributes disinfectants, sanitizers, gloves and masks said the high demand from all 50 states is difficult to compete with.

“In my area, I mean we have (400 to 500) distribution outlets and everybody’s ordering a thousand percent of what they ordered last year,” said Wesley Nakamura, Lamers president.

Nakamura said they use Spartan chemical products, which is SARS-rated by the CDC and EPA, which means it has been proven to kill viruses similar to SARS. Out of the 12 kinds of cleaning products available, Nakamura said they only have three types left.

He said one of the challenges now is balancing the inventory with what clients want.

“Even though the customer may order a tremendous amount, we get them enough product to hold them until we get more allocation in,” said Nakamura.

For now, he said he’s got enough supply to keep products going out to his clients. He said he would even be able to handle supply for any new customers thanks to planning ahead.

Meanwhile some smaller stores are finding other ways to get the cleaning supplies they need. The owner of local boutique Mikinola said she got lucky.

“Finding the supplies are very hard, but you might want to check some stores that you might not expect to be selling them,” said Dara Fujio, Mikinola owner.

Her store was able to snag few bottles of sanitizer from Fisher Hawaii. If they run out, she said she may also look to partnering with other local companies who are making it, similar to what they did with masks.

“With masks I know a lot of my designers are making masks for us, so we still look good and at the same time,” said Fujio.

She was also able to get gloves, which she will be handing out to customers.

Pearlridge Center and International Marketplace both open on Friday, they both say they will have hand sanitizing stations throughout their facilities for customers to use.

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