Retail Reacts: Embrace Pharmacy fills a need, produces hand sanitizer for customers
EDITOR'S NOTE: During the coronavirus outbreak, the Herald is profiling efforts being made by local businesses to aid customers and to stay viable during this historic disruption to commerce.
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the nation, personal health and hygiene are of the utmost importance. But some products, such as hand sanitizer, are universally unavailable due to shortages.
A new FDA rule is allowing pharmacies to make their own hand sanitizer to sell, and Grand Forks' own Embrace Pharmacy will begin selling house-made sanitizers to the public on Friday, March 27. Embrace is located at 2424 32nd Ave. South in Grand Forks.
Once the new FDA rule was announced March 16, Embrace Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Samantha Buck jumped at the chance to fill a need for her community.
“We have a lot of people who can’t find (hand sanitizer) and need it. We want to get people the supplies they need so that they are feeling safe during this time,” said Buck.
Empty shelves once filled with necessities are becoming a common scene across the country and hand sanitizer is among the most sought-after products. The hand sanitizer at Embrace is being created following FDA guidelines, using 75% isopropyl alcohol, and can be used between hand washings.
“Hand sanitizer is our comfort blanket if we have to go out,” said Buck. “When you don’t have it, your comfort is taken away, so we are helping to fill that (need).”
Making hand sanitizer is no simple task, especially since the needed supplies are in high demand, too. In addition to selling the product, the pharmacy has considered allowing pre-orders to accommodate as many people as possible. Embrace plans on making more sanitizer, if the necessary supplies can be obtained; but for now the product is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Buck expects the sanitizer to be ready for sale sometime around 1 p.m. Friday.
Buck and her team at Embrace Pharmacy see the idea as a way that they can help their community through the coronavirus pandemic.
“As a pharmacist, having the opportunity to do something like this was making sure that people have something that they needed,” said Buck. “We were feeling like we are filling a void.”
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