Author Paige Havens

While many businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, other businesses have found an opportunity to change their normal operations to help those in need. As a nation we have witnessed great shifts in production to help meet demands. Car manufacturer production lines have cranked out ventilators for hospitals. College students have repurposed 3D printers to make face shields for front line workers. Liquor distilleries have forgone producing their normal “spirits” and in exchange are bottling thousands of bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 

Black Hat has been privileged to witness, and be a part of, some of these fantastic shifts. Industries that have never had a need for masks or gloves or disinfectant sprays and wipes are now looking for a way to keep their employees safe as they return to work. We’ve been able to help supply hand sanitizer to businesses thanks to a local mat manufacturer who shifted its production model and created a new product to help meet demand. Because of our broad connections, we have helped a local non-profit organization with gloves and sanitizer so that they can safely continue to serve their mission helping area homeless. Supplying companies with reusable masks for their employees has been possible for us in part because companies such as WestPoint Home shifted gears in several their textile production factories and began making masks to help during this crisis.

Every ship’s captain must know when to trim the sails, change course, and jettison excess baggage. This pandemic has caused us all to have to reengineer how we approach daily life. What we once knew to be “normal” may never be the same again. We must all think outside the box, adapt, and collaborate more than ever before. Black Hat Enterprises’ concierge approach to supply solutions was designed for such a time as this. We are problem solvers, rethinkers and solution seekers. We are lean and keen, able to help companies pivot and adapt to the incredible change around us. Let us apply the breadth and depth of our industry knowledge to help you stand firmly at the helm and navigate these unchartered waters.

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The CDC recommends wearing cloth face masks in public settings where compliance with physical distancing measures may be difficult to achieve and maintain. This is key in areas where community- based transmission, such as the workplace, is high. Keep in mind that the primary purpose of a face mask is to reduce transmission rather than protecting oneself from contracting the COVID-19 virus. To help you understand the differences in types of masks available in the marketplace, we have put together a quick reference guide for you.

N-95 Masks – The most recognized and effective face masks.They fit tightly around your face and are designed for single use. They filter out 95% or more of the smallest particles in the air.  Because these masks are surgical grade and required PPE for most healthcare workers, they are the most difficult to obtain.

Medical Masks –Standard medical grade masks come in a few varieties and filter as much as 60% to 80% of small particles. When worn properly, they can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus by catching droplets when you cough or sneeze. These masks are disposable and designed for one-time use only.

Fabric Masks – A great option for non-healthcare workers. They cover both nose and mouth to minimize the spread of droplets when you cough or sneeze. Some have filter pockets or silver ion technology woven in to destroy odor causing bacteria.  These masks are washable and reusable. Best for everyday use.

We have various mask options available.   Email us and let us help you find the masks ideal for your operational needs! 
Be In The Know on How To Properly Wear Your Masks –Click Here

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Confused about hand sanitizer? What % alcohol is required? What forms are most effective? How do you get full coverage? Here are some things to learn and what steps to take to make sure you meet CDC hand hygiene and sanitation guidelines.

There are two types of alcohol typically used to make hand sanitizer: 

Ethanol is the same kind of alcohol produced in distilleries. It has become more readily available now due to many beer/hard liquor distilleries making this product. 

The second most common type of alcohol used in hand sanitizer is isopropanol, which is the same alcohol used for rubbing and cleaning alcohol in first aid products. 

Proper potency of each is critical to ensure you sanitizer will combat COVID-19. Read your labels carefully. Since ethanol alcohol is more potent, the CDC recommends sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol for proper sanitation whereas with the isopropanol, they recommend 70%+ for proper cleansing strength. 

Hand sanitizers come in foam, liquid or gel. Each are just as effective at proper alcohol potencies, but studies have shown that the liquid and foam versions prove effective 15 seconds after application and gel after 30 seconds. Make sure you rub sanitizer into your palms, up/down/in-between fingers (don’t forget your thumb!), on top of your hands, and under your fingernails too. Let it fully dry and you are good to go!

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For home use gloves are only recommended for those cleaning or caring for someone who is sick. In most other situations, like running errands or shopping, gloves are not necessary and in fact, when not used properly, can spread germs more so than if you were not wearing gloves at all.

In the workplace however, gloves are sometimes a necessity and often a requirement. So which gloves should you choose to keep yourself and your staff safe?

Disposable, medical-grade gloves are the recommended types of gloves to use for COVID-19 protection both in the workplace and when cleaning or caring for someone who is sick. Medical grade gloves are made from polymers such as latex, vinyl, or nitrile. All offer a level of protection to the wearer if used properly; however, choosing which type depends both on personal preference, as well as the environment in which they are being worn. Depending on their application, some people prefer the looser fit of the vinyl gloves, while others lean to the “second skin” feel of the latex or nitrile. 

Vinyl gloves are made from synthetic materials. They are the least expensive latex-free gloves and show the lowest allergy rate. Vinyl gloves offer excellent protection in low risk applications, but because they can puncture and tear more easily, they are not recommended for jobs that have potential high transmission rates (i.e. medical facilities).
Latex gloves are made of natural rubber. They are the most widely used gloves since they provide the best elasticity, fit and overall comfort. Latex gloves offer excellent protection against bacteria and viruses; however, they are not the best choice for use with many chemicals and petroleum-based products. Additionally, nearly 1 in 6 people have a latex allergy and cannot use latex gloves. 

Nitrile gloves are made from synthetic rubber and are the top choice for many individuals, due to their durability and their low allergy rate. They work well for high-risk situations involving infectious materials. Nitrile gloves are also an excellent choice for long-term wear applications such as in factories or in warehouses.

It’s super important to offer multiple sizes to your employees, because one size does not fit all! Proper fit is critical, as is frequent glove changing. And remember to have plenty of soap on-hand so employees thoroughly wash their hands before and after wearing gloves.

Reach out and let’s find the right fit for you! For more details about CDC glove guidelines, click here.

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Recently, Heather Holbrook, Director of Program Development at Oak Meadow Montessori School in Lawrenceville, GA joined our dynamic team to help expand our reach and support to educational institutions. Little did she know how perfect her timing would be. By original design, Black Hat is a hospitality supply company, however we have embraced the opportunity before us to help schools source the necessary items to successfully operate during the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of Heather’s intimate involvement in the Montessori community for the last 13 years, she understands not only the basic items needed for any school to operate, but also some of the unique supply challenges Montessori schools face.  

With the long list of health and safety compliance requirements schools must follow now to open classrooms during the pandemic, demand for Covid-19 items is not going to go away any time soon. Consequently, the supply chain is going to continue to be limited. Because we work factory-direct, Black Hat usually has the inside scoop on when items will become available. Better yet, unlike most online and big box retailers, you do not have to wait for items to become in-stock on the shelves to place an order with Black Hat. The best thing for schools to do now is to get in the back-order queue so to be served far ahead of those who are just waiting for items to be restocked on the shelves. Most orders placed on back order can be cancelled at any time before it ships, so if we were to find a windfall of supplies elsewhere, we can always cancel the order. We monitor the status of all of our orders daily so we can keep you in the know about your supply purchases during this crazy time.

Hot items on the Back to School Supply List includes:

PPE Supplies: We have access to all PPE supplies including adult masks, pediatric masks, face shields, touchless thermometers, latex, and nitrile gloves. 

Hand Sanitizer: We have access to plenty of hand sanitizer. Our current inventory is comprised of 8-ounce pump bottles sold in a case of 24 bottles. Great for front desk or in the classrooms.

Janitorial Supplies: We have the janitorial supplies needed to properly clean, disinfect, and sanitize work areas. We know which cleaning materials are EPA approved and acknowledged to fight the Covid-19 virus. We also have access to disinfectants that are naturally derived, so they are safer to use in a school setting. If you have linens to wash, now more than ever it matters what kind of detergent you use.

Disinfecting equipment: Electrostatic sprayers have become a popular choice for schools to disinfect both the classrooms, as well as common and playground areas. We can also supply your school with touchless soap and sanitizer units.

Office, Breakroom, and Classroom Supplies: Yes, have those too!

Aprons: Cobbler Aprons are popular in the classroom setting. We can supply you with both adult and child size aprons in a variety of colors. These are quick shipped direct from the manufacturer.

Disposables: Many of the school systems have mandated the use of disposable food service items. We can provide these items as well. We even have access to products that are 100% recycled so that environmentally conscious schools can feel better about using disposables.

As the landscape continues to shift and change during this pandemic, Black Hat’s concierge approach allows us to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of our clients. We love to think outside the box and offer up creative solutions to challenges. Our relationships with suppliers allow us to get you preferred placement in the queues for high-demand supplies. We are champions for education and are excited to be in the trenches with school administrators and educators to get children and teachers safely back in their classrooms. Call and ask for Heather!

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Hey everyone, I’m Archie – the Black Hat watchdog. It’s been a little crazy around here lately but I have to admit, I’m really enjoying having everyone home. There are lots of warm laps to nap in throughout the day. I sense everyone is stressed and worried, but I’m here to tell you that I’m seeing so much good come out of all this. We are spending more time together as a family, people are checking on each other, the pace of life has slowed, and we’re definitely getting out and exercising more. I’m beginning to wonder if this really is a crisis or a much needed pause for us all to reevaluate what’s most important in life and reset a new normal for our lives.

My bed sits beside the Mad Hatter’s desk and I’m hearing some cool conversations about what people are doing right now to help each other. Have you thought about what you could do to turn this negative into a real positive for your community? Think about this …

* Do you have things in your kitchens and warehouses that could help those in need in your community? So many families are in crisis. Do you have food or products that might expire soon that you could donate to your local food banks and non-profits that are standing on the front lines?
* With the shortage of PPE, many people are sewing up masks. Do you have new, unused linens stacked in your storeroom that could be sewn into masks for healthcare professionals, the elderly, or volunteers at your local non-profits?
* Your commercial laundry rooms could be a godsend to local shelters and healthcare clinics that have linens that need to be deep cleaned.
* Do you have vehicles going unused right now that you could use to help deliver food and supplies to those who can’t get out? Or empower the supply chain for your local nonprofits?
* If you have empty hotel rooms, ballrooms or warehouse space, offer it up to local hospitals and non-profits to house and sort supplies as they experience unprecedented demand.
* If you’ve got extra time on your hands, you could volunteer with your local Medical Reserve Corps – they have roles for both clinicians and non-clinicians! (Learn more here)
* And don’t forget to take this time to thank your staff, volunteers, clients and others that are vital to the success of your business.

I challenge you all to find one thing to do each day to take care of each other and give back!

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This downtime is proving to be the perfect opportunity to get those much-needed renovations and upgrades done. It’s a great time to clean up and clean out. It’s also the perfect time to renovate your thinking and deliverables. We’re here to consult with you, to talk and think through ideas, and help bring your vision to life. Email us and let’s set up a time to talk!

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What will be your top ten supply needs be when we hit the “go” button again? Send that list over to us and we’re going to start compiling lists. Supply chain channels are back-logged and we are going to have to plan ahead to be ready for a relaunch. Working together we can bundle orders to get better pricing and bulk shipping rates. Let’s explore different factories and suppliers. We’ll work to get ahead of the big wave coming, so you are at the front of the line when things start cranking again. Orders will be billed upon receipt, so you’ve got a little time to cover costs. And if orders should ship before you’re ready to receive them, we can help with storage if needed. We’re all in this together!

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If you are not currently open to the public and/or staffed to receive incoming shipments during normal business hours, you need to think through your best delivery options. Right now, many shipping companies are “returning to shipper” on the FIRST delivery attempt if they find a business closed at the time of delivery. If you have alternate locations we need to arrange shipments to or specific delivery instructions to note, please advise. If we can help store some items in our limited warehouse space, let us know. We want to do everything we can to get your supplies to you when and where you need them.

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If I’m honest, I thought this Corona Virus threat would blow over quickly and not be a ‘thing’, but as news unfolds, it’s clearly something we all need to face head on and prepare for.

Over the course of just a few weeks we’ve seen major disruption to the hospitality and travel industry and beyond. As employers are heeding caution from the CDC and the WHO, workforces are being scaled back, hence production in our factories are slowing. That trickles down to the transportation and logistics industry, which impacts supply chain management and delivery.

Clearly this is a time when we’ve all got to keep our heads about us, think ahead, and work together to keep business flowing.

That’s exactly what we are here for! Our boutique, concierge approach is designed for times like this. We work with you one-on-one to dive deep and work through the challenges together. We have a wealth of resources around the world. We are nimble and can make adjustments quickly. This situation is likely to get worse before it gets better, so let’s strategically partner up to help you weather this storm. Here are some things to consider:

* With health at stake, supply issues are small in the grand scheme of things. However, doing our small part to keep your business thriving matters. For this reason, if there are products that are critical to your business’ success that you know you will absolutely need in the next 3 to 4 months, I would advise you to consider purchasing well ahead of schedule. 

* Be well prepared to serve those that are still traveling. Now more than ever your customers are looking to you to take good care of them. How you handle this could solidify their brand loyalty for years to come. Put every precaution in place to protect your customers and guests. Have hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), rubber gloves, high potency anti-bacterial soap, tissues, etc. available in EVERY room – not just guest rooms. Make sure you have commercial grade cleaning supplies and educate your customers about your cleaning procedures and other efforts to keep them safe. Stay ahead on your inventory and do not run out. You cannot afford to cut corners here!

* Certain areas of the world are more impacted than others right now. You may have a preferred source for certain supplies, but that may not be the best option at this time. We can help you shop around. If one product is out of reach, we’ll work to find an equivalent somewhere else to ensure your needs are met. Who knows, you might stumble on something you like better!

* Pricing for certain high demand items may go up (i.e. hand sanitizer) due to supply and demand, but because a short-term slow down is expected, some pricing may actually drop significantly. If you have things you’ve been wanting to shop or budget allocations you want to be sure not to lose, now could actually be a really great time to go in and try to negotiate discount pricing that allows you to get more for less.

* There’s always a need for renovations and upgrades, but almost never a good time to do them. During this short-lived downturn this could be the perfect time to tackle them. We can even help with delivery and install if you need support!

* Shipping is always a painful topic in our business, but with container ships and tractor trailers sitting empty, this could be an excellent time for negotiation. If you’ve got the budget to buy in bulk, now’s a good time to explore your options. We can work with you to explore storage options too.

* As the virus spreads the demand for care facilities is growing. Hospitals are bursting at the seams for beds. So … if you really want to think outside the box, explore how to partner with local health departments, hospitals, and assisted living facilities to repurpose your property to address the growing demand for beds to care for people. There’s also a growing need for places to quarantine people as well. And when a vaccination rolls out, there is going to be a need for mass immunization locations and you have great spaces to offer. Really take some time to think how you can be a part of the solution for unique needs in your community. We’ll help you get the supplies you need to make it happen!

Please know, this is not a selfish, profit-driven message– we can promise you that. We simply want to be smart about what’s ahead, to be there for you, to help you minimize the impact, and to communicate openly about what we expect in the near future. This will be short-lived. Let’s work together to turn this into a time of opportunity rather than one of disadvantage. We are here to help in any way we can.
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