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Demand For Pandemic Protection Hikes Business At Columbus Plastic Company

American Plastic CEO Don Roberts shows a plastic divider created at his company.
Debbie Holmes
/
WOSU
American Plastic CEO Don Roberts shows a plastic divider created at his company.

The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic forced many companies to think more about how to protect the health of their customers and workers. American Plastic on the Columbus' Northwest side has benefited from a huge demand in plastic products that are created on- site.

“Right now, it’s all about sneeze guards and protective barriers,” says American Plastic CEO Don Roberts.

Roberts, who founded American Plastic, says the company uses two automated laser machines to complete the plastic designs for sneeze guards, desk dividers and lunchroom barriers as well as display shelves. A variety of organizations including libraries, schools, hospitals, prisons, banks and retail stores have requested plastic protection items.

A laser machine cuts the design for a plastic divider.
Credit Debbie Holmes / WOSU
/
WOSU
A laser machine cuts the design for a plastic divider.

“Every day it’s new orders,” Roberts says. “There’s people coming with requests whether it’s for one piece or whether it’s for hundreds of pieces, and whether its local here or if we’re shipping it out, we’ve had a little bit of everything.”

Roberts says his business has more than doubled this year.  He and his four employees have worked nights and weekends to fill orders.

“It’s increased drastically,” Roberts says. “I mean it’s been a huge difference for us. Especially when it first broke out everybody was maneuvering.  The biggest obstacle we had was getting material. We couldn’t get enough materials quick enough.”

Roberts says he sources the acrylic material from several American manufacturers. Some of them warned of up to four-month delays earlier in the pandemic, however Roberts says those delays didn't materlize. 

“We were able to navigate through that,” Roberts says. “We never had a wait like that. And anyone that needed anything done whether big or small, I don’t think anyone waited more than a couple weeks to get their order completed.”

american_plastic_lunchroom_divider.jpg
Credit American Plastic
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A lunchroom table divider.

Roberts says demand slowed in the summer, but now work is revving back up.

“What’s ahead for us I think it’s going to be fine,” Roberts says. “We’ve built a lot of new relationships through this. A lot of companies didn’t know that we did this type of thing and even went as far as saying we are going to start working with you guys from here on out. It’s been good.”