Edgewell Personal Care produces Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen.
With the beaches in Volusia county reopening to sunbathing, Edgewell Personal Care is praying production of sunscreen ramps up.
The last couple of months have been difficult for the Ormond Beach manufacturer, said Director of Operations Jose Lago. Edgewell has facilities worldwide, but the Ormond location specializes in producing Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen. Lago said based on market reports, sunscreen consumption is down 50% in the U.S. The company is, however, exploring other products to manufacture.
“We have to weather the storm," Lago said. "Not much you can do.”
But, he said they're prepared for the times ahead.
Edgewell Personal Care began in 2015 after it split from the Energizer Corporation, Lago explained. The company as a whole produces different personal care products across the globe, and its heritage dates back to 1910 when Colonel Jacob Schick invented the first cutthroat razor, according to Edgewell's website. Then in 1932, The International Laytex Company was founded, which would later be known as Playtex. In 2007, following various mergers and introduction of product brands, the two companies merged.
In Ormond Beach, Edgewell employs about 150 people, including temporarily workers, in the winter and spring, which Lago said is their busiest time of the year. To keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has directed all employees who have the ability to work remotely to do so from their homes. For those that have to be at the plant, temperatures are checked and they are asked to wear face masks.
While the measures that have been taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 have been "painful," said Lago, they were also necessary.
"Because the option of doing nothing would have been a disaster," he said.
The most important thing a manufacturer can do is protect its workforce and their families, Lago added. Most of Edgewell's Ormond Beach workforce is local.
“They’re the most valuable assets that we have," Lago said. "You can have millions of dollars of equipment and processes in place, but without people, you cannot run them. That’s the advice I would give to anyone.”
Since March, the Ormond Beach Observer has featured local manufacturers as part of an ongoing series titled "Made in Ormond Beach." Edgewell is the sixth company to be highlighted, though there are more in the city.
In March, Ormond Beach Economic Development Director Brian Rademacher said that he was pleasantly surprised so many manufacturers have been contributing to or represented a factor in the battle against COVID-19.
“When you look at it from a manufacturer’s perspective, to know that these companies are here and that they’re able to provide these services and these jobs during these times, it’s pretty amazing to see that there’s still that opportunity to have them producing and providing benefits to the local economy," Rademacher said.