COVID-19 Update: Industry Reacts to Coronavirus


(Editor’s note: This story will be updated as more announcements are forthcoming)

Companies in the sign and digital graphics, awards and engraving and decorated apparel industries are having to scramble—as are virtually all businesses around the globe—to keep up with the fast-moving coronavirus. And it’s not just the health and welfare of their employees they are looking out for. It’s also the daily efforts by the U.S. government and others countries around the world to nullify the spread of the virus, and how many of these actions directly impact what’s happening in their day-to-day business operations. Sign & Digital Graphics and its sister publications, A&E and Printwear, are monitoring company announcements and updating them here as often as possible.

Almo Professional A/V: The Philadelphia-based company, in partnership with its manufacturing vendor partners, has launched the Almo Financial Relief Alliance. As part of this program, Almo is offering an additional 30 days of extended credit terms to qualified reseller partners. Alliance partners are LG Business Solutions USA, Atlas AV, Avocor, Barco, BrightSign, Harman Professional Solutions, Huddly, Kramer, Legrand US, Maxell, NEC, Peerless-AV, Sharp, Sony and TOA Electronics. To learn more about the Almo Financial Relief Alliance, go to http://go.almoproav.com/alliance.

BOFA International: The UK-based fume and dust extraction technology manufacturer says it is maintaining production of its portable fume and dust systems, filters, and spares so that businesses can continue to operate as efficiently as possible. “We have introduced new working practices for our manufacturing teams in line with government and world health organization advice to ensure their safety while continuing to deliver vital products to key customers around the world,” says Tony Lockwood, managing director. “Most of our office and field-based staff are now working remotely, but we are committed to maintaining the production of core components to support those industries central to the global effort.”

Coastal Business Supplies: The Maryland Heights, Missouri-based distributor to the dye sublimation and specialty printing markets says it is fully operational and intends to remain that way, but it does have employees working from home. In terms of current stock, the company tells SDG’s sister publication, Printwear, that it “always holds safety stock levels to maintain service levels” and serve the needs of its customers and their businesses.

Coastal Enterprises: The Orange, California-based manufacturers of Precision Board HDU has released an announcement from its president, Chuck Miller. Addressed to its customers and distributors, the company says it is following guidance from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control to make sure its employees are kept safe. Aside from that, Miller says the company is operating as normal, with no material shortages, production delays or slowdowns in delivery.

ColDesi: The Tampa, Florida-based apparel decorating equipment manufacturer’s president, Scott Colman, sent an email to customers with some words of encouragement and a link to free downloadable art created by the ColDesi team. The company says it is answering all support calls, continues to provide live online training, and release podcast episodes, and many team members are working remotely. 

Condé Systems: The Mobile, Alabama-based dye sublimation and transfer products company announces its headquarters in Alabama and distribution center in California are open for business and will remain to operate at normal business hours as long as it is safe to do so, according to a company letter sent via email. The company suggests customers have orders delivered to their home or business, however, if immediate pick-up is required from one of the facilities, customers are asked to pay in advance with credit card or other non-cash method. For questions about product availability or order delivery, the company asks that customers contact their Condé account manager by email or call 800-826-6332.

Corel Corp.: The Ottawa, Canada-based software manufacturer says that through the end of May, it is updating its CorelDRAW.app so that all CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2019 and CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2020 customers have access to the app’s new collaboration features at no extra cost. Additionally, license owners can now install their business license on a second at-home machine, and corporate licensing customers with CorelSure maintenance, as well as academic institutions with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite licenses, can provide employees and students with licenses to install on their personal systems. More details are at www.coreldraw.com/covid-19-update

Durst: The Brixen, Italy-based wide-format printer manufacturer is closing its headquarters for the next two weeks. The company says it is doing so out of a matter of caution, as one of its employees tested positive for the virus last week. The company says that it is donating masks and protective suits to the hospital in its hometown—which is short of resources, like many—and it says globally all its branches are active, although some are under certain restrictions. It has made sure that branches in other countries are well-stocked with spare parts and the ability to deliver ink to customers who need it. In the meantime, it will continue to monitor this global situation, the company says.

Epilog Laser: The Golden, Colorado-based laser manufacturer released a statement: As far as machine production and distribution, the company has not felt much of an impact. “Our supply chain has remained intact for the most part, and for that we are very thankful,” says Mike Dean, vice president of sales and marketing for Epilog.

“The health and safety of our employees is always priority one,” Dean continues. “To help minimize the COVID-19 threat, we have implemented company-wide travel restrictions as well as self-quarantine protocols for anyone who may be affected.”

Flora USA: American Printing Systems, DBA Flora USA, based in Wharton, New Jersey, announces that it is fully staffed and open for business, as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has declared printing and office suppliers an “essential business.” The company says its field engineers are staying put in its New Jersey offices, but they are available by phone or email. The company is also offering consumables through UPS and via “no contact” pickup appointments.

GENLED Brands: The San Antonio-based parent company of LED lighting company AgiLight provided an update on Monday, March 23, that says it continues to take extra health precautions for the safety of its employees and customers, and that its production capabilities have not been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our primary concern is the health and safety of the GENLED brands family—our customers and employees and ensuring we continue providing quality products,” says Steven Moya, president and CEO. The company says its outside salespeople are not travelling, nor are visitors allowed into its facility. It is offering Skype training and service calls to its customers, however.

Global Imaging: The Louisville, Colorado-based company, a reseller and integrator of wide- and grand-format printing systems, says it is in touch with all of its global manufacturing partners and shipping carriers, and so far all are acting as “business as usual” and at the present time—Monday, March 16—there is no disruption in the company’s supply chain.

“We source very few products from Asian countries and those items have not been impacted by the virus,” says Greg Lamb, CEO. “We are still ordering and receiving product at their expected delivery times. We source many products from European countries, including Italy. Although there is a countrywide lockdown within Italy at this time, our Italian partners are all safe, healthy and taking a one to two-week break to help minimize further spread within their country.”

The company adds that inventory levels at for inks, parts and supplies are sufficient for “many months.”

GMG Americas: The German-based developer of high-end color management software solutions, which has its U.S. headquarters in Hingham, Massachusetts, announces that it remains fully operational through the COVID-19 crisis. The company says that GMG staff is working remotely for any customer support needs, and it remains fully stocked and ready to ship any of its needs. It adds that for customers who cannot access GMG equipment in their offices, it can offer remote solutions to keep them operational from home. Contact the company if this is you.

“We want to reassure our customers of our continued service offering in light of the outbreak of COVID-19,” says Joe Varone, GMG Americas’ president. “Of course, the most important thing to GMG is everyone’s health and safety. However, we also know that our customers are adapting work habits to be productive while working at home—or with skeleton crews at print facilities. GMG Americas remains committed to supporting small businesses at this time and will do anything we can to help everyone stay on track.”

GSG: The Dallas-based Graphic Solutions Group says all branches are open, but contactless curbside service is running at all locations. Orders can be placed either online at www.gogsg.com or 800-366-1776. All deliveries will be left at doors or docks. GSG president Mark Granberry says almost all company travel has been cancelled, as have vendor visits to its facilities, and it is following CDC guidelines on maintaining a clean work environment for its employees.

IIMAK:  The Amherst, New York-based makers of films, inks and thermal transfer papers says it is considered an “essential business,” as its products directly and indirectly supply the world with materials essential to the medical, hospital, food, transportation and packaging industries. Specifically, the company noted that aside from the products it makes for the signage and visual communications industry, it also develops and manufactures thermal transfer, direct thermal and digital inkjet consumable solutions that are used in medical products, as well as products going into on-demand barcodes and human readable information that it says is the critical "first line” of information for direct labeling of goods in certain critical industries. Such labeling with material content, lot numbers, codes, etc. is critical to keeping the supply chain of products moving. As for its employees, it says it has taken multiple actions to keep them safe, secure and healthy.

IKONICS Corp.: The parent company of Duluth, Minnesota-based image transfer products company IKONICS Imaging, announces that it is fully operational. The company says it has taken precautionary steps in accordance with recommendations from the CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health and the World Health Organization in order to keep employees safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within its community. “During this unstable time, we want you to know that we are here for you. All our films and equipment are made in the USA and we are continuing to ship product on our normal schedule,” says IKONICS Imaging marketing manager, Michael Sullivan. IKONICS will also post new weekly educational videos for customers to view on its site, he says. “We are committed to our sandcarving community and want to reassure you that we are here if you need us,” Sullivan adds. 

INX International: The Schaumburg, Illinois-based ink manufacturer announced on Monday, March 23, that it is continuing its manufacturing operations as an “essential supplier,” and will continue to support its customers’ production of food, beverages, and household health and safety products during this time of increased demand.

“Our customers require inks and chemical products for all forms of food packaging, medical labels and vital communication materials defined as printed media,” says John Hrdlick, president and CEO. “The manufacture of printing ink is a fundamental chemical process to prevent widespread shortages of these essential products around the globe.”

Hrdlick adds that INX’s commitment to its employees remains a priority, and work-from-home rules have been put it place for some while additional safety precautions are being instituted for employees who need to come in to keep manufacturing going.

JDS Industries: The Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based company announces all supply warehouses are open and able to ship nationwide, due to being classified as an essential business. Company headquarters is also open to assist customers. “We will continue to practice the safest measures possible to keep our employees working at our facilities, and you, safe, and we ask that customers avoid will-call at this time,” says the company. “We will strive to keep things running as normally as possible for as long as we can and will keep you updated via our website.”

Kornit Digital: The Israel-based textile printer manufacturer, which has its U.S. headquarters in Englewood, New Jersey, is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: KRNT) and has had to adjust its projected earnings in light of the ripple effects of COVID-19. Company CEO Ronen Samuel put out a statement March 26 that plainly stated what his—and certainly other—companies are dealing with at this time: "The first quarter was off to an excellent start before the global effects of COVID-19 began to severely impact the fashion, apparel and home décor sectors. We were expecting significant new business and expansion projects with strategic accounts and had strong momentum globally with customers of all sizes across our portfolio.

“Measures implemented to fight the pandemic such as fashion and apparel retail shutdowns, community lockdowns and curfews, school suspension at all grades, suspension of professional and recreational sports at all levels, and postponement of all corporate and entertainment promotional events, had an immediate impact on our customers, some of whom have had to cease operations entirely. As a result, we are seeing customers postpone their purchasing.

"We continue to work very closely with our valued customers and partners to ensure we provide them the best possible support to execute in this restrictive environment. We believe that as things stabilize, the textile industry will have an increased urgency to accelerate the shift to proximity and on-demand digital textile production, and Kornit is ideally positioned to execute on this need.”

Mac Papers: The Jacksonville, Florida-based distribution company uses a network of company-owned warehouses and privately owned trucks to distribute product throughout the Southeast U.S. The company says the redundancy built into its supply chain will help it ensure its customers get what they need. The company is also in touch with its suppliers—most of them domestic—to make sure they’re alerted to any disruptions. In terms of its employees; health and well-being, the company has taken steps such as restricting travel and cutting back on having visitors to its facilities for the time being.

Miller Weldmaster: The Navarre, Ohio-based vinyl welding equipment manufacturer is temporarily closed due to an executive order from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. The company says plans at this time are to reopen on Monday, April 6, and a statement on its website adds that it wishes all the best to its customers and employees. In the meantime, the company has posted this contact information:

MagnaColors: Chairman Tom Abbey of the UK-based company says all departments are running as usual but with special measures. The company is not accepting on-site visitors, and procedures are in place to reduce contact and contamination. “We are bringing in extra stocks of many of our raw materials to mitigate risks to supply shortages,” Abbey adds.

Montroy Sign & Graphic Products: The Signal Hill, California-based distributor to the sign and graphics industries says it has implemented several measures that ensure the safety of its customers and employees, including more digital communications. It reminds its customers that its website is up and operational 24/7 to assist with inquiries, orders and requests.

Mutoh America: The Phoenix-based wide-format printer and cutter manufacturer issued an email alert explaining a plan, including a strategy to support customers, coordinate global and local communications, and a limit on all non-essential business travel. The company says it is focused on maintaining a safe work environment.

OmniPrint International: The company wants to assure that it’s taking the necessary precautions to maintain the safety and health of its employees, customers and products. President and CEO Victor Peña says its American-based manufacturing facilities continue to operate, and its work-from-home policies have expanded. OmniPrint has six months’ worth of raw materials for the production of inks and consumables. “We will have exciting, new web-based shows, entrepreneur sessions that bring a ton of value directly to you, so stay tuned,” Peña says.

Piedmont Plastics: The Charlotte, North Carolina-based distributor of plastic sheet, rod, tube and film stock shapes says it is actively monitoring the progress of COVID-19, but so far all 48 of its U.S. locations are able to share inventory and ship material throughout North America as needed. The company says it maintains a diversified list of suppliers specifically for situations like this. In addition, it says, it has implemented clear safety guidelines for its employees to follow.

Proforma Group: The Independence, Ohio-based distributor to the printing and promotional products industry, announces that it has cancelled its Million Dollar Club event, scheduled for early April in Florida. The company has also implemented a work-from-home rule for all of its employees at its Ohio and Florida facilities.

Roland DGA: The Irvine, California-based company has restricted employee access at its headquarters, though it has employees working remotely as well. According to an email update, the company's offsite third-party distribution center is classified in the “essential services” category and therefore remains open, so Roland products and consumables continue to be shipped out. The Roland DGA online store is also open, so end users can order any needed accessories and supplies there.

S-One Holdings: The Sarasota, Florida-based company that includes subsidiaries LexJet, Brand Management Group, S-One Labels & Packaging and DIGIPRINT SUPPLIES, says it will continue to operate its business at 100% capacity. Most of global workforce is now working from home, although its production operations and shipping departments are continuing to operate. Art Lambert, co-founder and CEO, says the company has already taken steps to increase inventory and is closely monitoring its facilities around the globe to ensure there is no disruption to the supply chain.

As for its employees, S-One has added extra sanitation efforts at all its locations and S-One has issued a ban on all non- critical travel. Also, it added additional digital meeting resources so its teams can stay in close touch with customers, vendors and suppliers.

Sawgrass: The Mount Pleasant, South Carolina-based dye sublimation company sent an email bulletin explaining its steps to minimize risk, such as restricting travel to industry shows.

“Our teams are working tirelessly around the world to ensure that when you are ready, Sawgrass is here for you,” says Darcy Mauro, president of Sawgrass. “We will continue to provide reliable access to products in a responsive and equitable manner.

Sloan LED: The Ventura, California-based company says it is doing everything it can to operate business as usual, while at the same time following CDC guidelines and local health orders. In its offices, it is following social distancing and hygiene guidelines, and says only essential business travel is being approved. As for product availability, the company says that because it has geographically diverse manufacturing capabilities and locations its inventory is well-stocked.

Trotec Laser: The Plymount, Michigan laser manufacturer sent a notice via email stating what it’s doing to support its customers and community. The company has set policies and procedures in place related to COVID-19, including its enterprise-wide response plan, eliminating non-essential company travel for the time-being, as well as following and enforcing authority guidelines and recommendations. Additionally, the company has cancelled onsite social interactions and upcoming events.

“At Trotec, we are committed to supporting our customers and community, and one of the most basic ways we can do this is by taking precautions to help everyone stay healthy,” says company president Warren Knipple. “We are also committed to providing you with the service and support you depend on, so we have established a business continuity plan to address various threats and vulnerabilities, including a response to the pandemic and high absenteeism.”

Universal Woods: The Jeffersontown, Kentucky-based parent company of ChromaLuxe and Unisub, took the opportunity to assure customers that its manufacturing facility in Louisville, Kentucky, continues to run daily production and is currently executing uninterrupted shipping and receiving. CEO of Universal Woods, Paul Neumann, wrote in a letter to customers that the company is practicing social distancing and has developed additional guidelines to continue a healthy work environment.

Vision Tex: The Carlisle, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer of flags, banners, display hardware and similar items, says that because Gov. Tom Long has ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses to close, it is shutting down its operations immediately. The company is not accepting any new orders and any orders in production that have not shipped are on hold for now. The company says if you have any questions to call its customer service agents, who are all working remotely from home.

The following businesses have reported to SDG that they are essential and open for business with full access, unless otherwise noted:

  • Advanced Print & Finishing Technologies
  • ARC Imaging Resources—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • AT Inks—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Axiom America—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Bell Co Inc.
  • Cam Displays
  • FDC Graphic Films
  • Georgia Print Co.
  • Graphic Resource Systems—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Lawson Screen & Digital Products—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Master Magnetics Inc.
  • Midwest Sign & Screen Printing Supply Co.—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Parrish Sign Co Inc.
  • Platinum Sign Supply—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Principal LED
  • Quality Media & Laminating Solutions—Essential and open but working with a reduced customer service Staff. The company is requesting orders only be placed through info@qmls.com.
  • Radius Display Products Inc.— Main site’s closed but running with remote capabilities
  • Sandy Alexander
  • Satellite Specialties
  • Sonoma Graphic Products—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Source One Digital—Essential but running with limited crews and accessibility
  • Southern Stud Weld Inc.
  • Stouse
  • Super Brush
  • Supply Bright
  • Universal Products Inc.
  • Ventex Technology
  • Vetroresina
  • VKF Renzel USA Corp.

—Julia Schroeder and Alexandria Bruce contributed to this report

Got a news tip? Contact Tony Kindelspire