Pelham company to help ease shortage of sanitizing liquid

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

PELHAM – After almost having to leave the city of Pelham due to an expansion and water issue, Research Solutions was able to stay in the spot it has now been for almost 50 years after working things out with the city, and now, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, they’re stepping up to help.

A chemical distributor located in Pelham, Research Solutions has stepped up amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus to help ease the shortage of hand sanitizer around the country.

“On the 19th of April, the federal government distilled permits to consider making hand sanitizer for better good,” said President of Research Solutions Rick Higginbotham. “We jumped right in on that and a few days later on the 23rd, we had our first batch.”

The company has been producing since then and are now in full distribution mode. The first key was to keep their industrial companies up and running as well as the employees at Research Solutions protected, but now they are ready to start supplying the public with the sanitizing liquid.

Higginbotham said they will launch a store on their website starting tomorrow, April 1, and that you will then be able to visit Researchsolutionsgroup.com or call 205-663-6350 to order the sanitizer to be shipped to you.

“We have capability of shipping in pints, quarts and gallons,” said Vice President of Operations and Compliance Jack Shea. “We have been doing that with variety of products. Now it’s predominantly hand sanitizer. We can produce two truckloads per day of one gallon containers.”

Shea added that the employees don’t have to work right on top of each other at their facility, which allows them to be able to produce the sanitizer and that employees are happy to have jobs.

The company also added an extra shift, giving more work possibility for the time being. Normally running operations from 6 a.m. until 4 or 4:30 p.m., they are now going from 6 a.m. until 10 or 10:30 p.m. trying to produce an important product.

As a company that already had the necessary chemical supplies, Research Solutions answered a call from the government as a non-FDA facility to help supply during this shortage.

The government sent out two formulas to use as liquid sanitizers and Research Solutions is capitalizing by using both formulas in distribution.

And while it’s going to help the public moving forward, it has already helped several industrial companies stay up and running, and has even helped the Pelham Fire Department locally.

“We use hand sanitizer after every call before we get back on truck and then first thing we do back at the station is wash hands our hands,” said Pelham Deputy Fire Chief Mike Reid. “It’s also around the station to help us remember to sanitize frequently. It was very timely for (Research Solutions) to offer this, and we’re excited a business in our city has answered the call that was asked of them.”

Reid also mentioned that many necessary supplies to do their jobs as firefighters safely amid this virus had been on backorder since January, making the supply chain that Research Solutions has offered locally a key for the department.

With uncertainty surrounding every emergency call they take now, Reid said that’s been important as have other implementations like health screenings each day.

“We don’t want somebody to come in sick and possibly infect the rest of the crew on that shift and us be down an entire shift,” he said. “We’re being very cautious and mindful.”

Being able to offer that supply chain was the main hope of Research Solutions.

“We want to make sure people are taken care of,” Higginbotham said. “We’re just honored to be a part of that supply chain. Supply chains and keeping those people working is very important for the economy and safety of everyone.”

Right now, Research Solutions is allowed to make the sanitizer for a 90-day period, which would end on June 30, but that is a time frame that could be extended.

Both Higginbotham and Shea, as well as Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes, thank Research Solutions CEO Jeff Miller for making it possible for this to happen

“Research solutions has been great for a long time,” Hayes said. “This is an amazing thing they have done with how quickly they have stepped up to provide this service. We are tremendously grateful and are proud that they are here.

“When the situation came up that they were going to have to leave, we were very happy to help find a solution. We appreciated their honesty and knew there was a way to make it work. I’m proud we worked that out, and that they have done what they’ve done. For them to turn on a dime and produce this, there aren’t enough adjectives or adverbs to describe it.”