Howell chemical company switches to producing hand sanitizer

HOWELL, MI – The coronavirus outbreak has pushed many businesses to innovate or retool with new areas of focus, and Howell’s Nyatex Adhesive and Chemical Co. is among them.

The chemical company has a primary focus on automotive plastics and adhesives, but began producing hand and surface sanitizer once company President Jason Hulbert realized he had the means to do so.


Hulbert said the company is always adjusting what it produces based on industry demands, and built-in access to the suppliers and chemicals needed to make sanitizers made for a smooth adjustment. Hulbert said even with shortages, he can work around supply obstacles with his list of vendors.

“Because we deal with so many (vendors), I've got 10 (of them) to choose from,” Hulbert said. “If the first five are out, I got five more I can try. Not a lot of companies have that many commodity suppliers in the rolodex.”

Nyatex never made sanitizer before the pandemic, but Hulbert said the company is familiar with the alcohols and glycerin that are used in sanitizer, and chemical engineers on staff who said it could be done. The company is using a World Health Organization formula to make the sanitizer.

It has been selling sanitizer in 5-gallon plastic pales for $150 each, with discounted rates for first responders, hospitals and essential businesses. While sales have mainly been in Livingston County, the sanitizer has been sold in Midland, Saginaw, Flint and Metro Detroit as well. Dental offices, landscapers and gyms have also been purchasing pales of sanitizer from Nyatex.

Mindy Bianchini, owner of TRVfit gym in Howell, said she bought the sanitizer to clean rooms and equipment in between classes once it reopens.

“It seems that it will look great for what I have conceptualized as far as opening and having new health regulations for my gym,” Bianchini said.

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Nyatex probably will not continue producing sanitizer after the demand generated by the pandemic dissipates.

“We’re in a position (where) we could produce it indefinitely and it’s something we could fold into what we do pretty easily,” Hulbert said. “But I feel it’s something that we will fade out, especially because of the size we are doing it.”

Originally Published at MLIVE, June 9, 2020