Gerber Technology




Business Moves Manufacturing from China to Michigan Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (USA) — An Atlanta-based company that makes scarves, sweatshirts and other outerwear with built-in filtration technology has moved its manufacturing operations from China to Grand Rapids amid the coronavirus outbreak. G95 Inc. expects to start manufacturing its products next week at the Cascade Township headquarters of Ladder 34, a company that uses old fire hoses to makes belts, coasters, pet accessories and more, said Carlton Solle, the creator and owner of G95 (

He said the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China has left his company with more than 1,000 orders waiting to be filled.

"As a business, if you don't have anything to sell, you're not a business, and you're out of business pretty quick," Solle said.

About three weeks ago, Solle said he began discussing moving his firm's manufacturing operations to Grand Rapids.

He connected with Lance Korhorn, the owner of Ladder 34, who Solle said he met about a year ago after purchasing a recycled belt from his company. At the time, Korhorn told him to reach out if he ever needed a manufacturing facility where his product could be cut and sown. So Solle did so.

Since then, he's "gone and resourced all the materials, all the fabrics, all the trims" needed to manufacture G95′s products in Grand Rapids.

"Instead of our custom filtration stuff being sent to China, it's getting sent to here," Solle said.

G95 was started nearly three years ago. It creates outerwear, such as its bioscarf, that contain filtration technology designed to protect against bacteria, viruses, air pollution, and smoke, the company says. The company's products are sold online.

The coronavirus originated in China but has since spread throughout the world, including South Korea, Italy, Iran and the U.S. More than 100,000 people have been infected, and it has killed over 3,400, the vast majority in China.

Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, according to the World Health Organization. In severe cases, it can cause kidney failure, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and death.

Solle said transferring manufacturing from China to Grand Rapids has been a "major undertaking." But he plans to keep operations here for the foreseeable future, even though it costs his company four times more to manufacture its products in the U.S. He said his company will absorb those costs.




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