Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with 100,000 square feet of virtually unusable restaurant space and hundreds of employees’ livelihoods at stake, Sam Sanchez (first mexican-american elected as Chairman of the Illinois Restaurant Association, Founder & CEO of Samco Enterprises and Third Coast Hospitality) knew he had to act fast.
Given the fate of the restaurant industry unknown, Sanchez’s entrepreneurial instinct kicked in and he was prepared to venture outside his comfort zone.
Together with partners Michael Gonzalez and Bing Zhou, they carved out a section of unused space (due to mandated capacity limitations) in the back of Old Crow Smoke House in Chicago and put their money where they felt it could do the most – American manufacturing.
In a room that would have been full of celebration you’ll now find a production line of SDS Blocker (USA) three-layer face masks, inventory of hand sanitizer, and a discovery team working on new personal protective equipment designed especially with hospitality and other essential workers in mind.
Through manufacturing the group was able to bring longtime employees back to work and create new jobs for the community.
Their office team is now designing packaging and learning a new market, the legal team is working on FDA and patent approvals, and jobs in production, packaging and fulfillment were created for those who struggled to find work during the shutdown.
- SDS Blocker Face Masks are made with three layers of high-quality, meltblown and non-woven fabrics, offer 95% filtration efficiency, and were designed to be worn on the job. Step into the production room and Zhou will likely be found fiddling with a machine.
- He’s adjusted the length of the earloops and claims that extra fraction of an inch made all the difference.
- The soft, flat elastic holds snug without causing any ache. Its cinched layers expand to uniquely fit your face and prevent chafing, and the breathable fabric allows clean air to exit quickly and entirely for a much more pleasant experience. (Nobody wants a constant reminder of what they had for lunch.) And for the more fashion-focused worker they come in various shades – including black.
Now, with what they feel to be a perfected product, the SDS Blocker (USA) operation is in the process of expanding to Indiana with more equipment and jobs underway.
“The future of hospitality, of all American industries rather, relies on the recovery of our nation. We believe it starts with creating new job opportunities and then protecting the workers for whom we rely on to keep the economy thriving,” says partner Michael Gonzalez. “By investing in our local community, we hope to help move the needle in that direction.”