GROW Nebraska® Members Keep Nebraska Strong With Hand Sanitizer for Truckers
In late March, GROW Nebraska® board member Kent Grisham notified GROW Nebraska® staff that truck drivers needed hand sanitizer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are hearing from truck drivers every day about their needs out on the road,” said Kent Grisham, President and CEO of the Nebraska Trucking Association. “Without them, America stops, literally. Everything in every store gets there by truck, and there’s a professional driver behind the wheel of each of them. So, when we hear they can’t get hand sanitizer, gloves, masks or even ink pens, it’s our duty to solve the problem, one driver at a time.”
Grisham has been involved with GROW Nebraska® since it started and knew that the organization could connect him with business owners who could help.
“I knew that some of our great Nebraska entrepreneurs would have a solution to our problem,” Kent said. “And while we may not be able to satisfy every professional driver’s needs, we can help some of them and keep working with GROW and other suppliers to get more.”
GROW Nebraska® staff immediately asked its members who could help provide hand sanitizer. Two members recently started making hand sanitizer because of the pandemic, and they both jumped at the opportunity to help.
Frontier Farms Soak Shack
Sue Ward, owner of Frontier Farms Soap Shack in Clarks, has been crafting goat milk soap, shampoo bars and lotions for five years. Part of her motivation to create products is her husband, who had experienced dry skin due to diabetes.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Sue, who is a breast cancer survivor, and her husband both realized the importance of protecting themselves with hand sanitizer. When they couldn’t find any in stores, Sue started making it herself.
When she heard that the truckers needed hand sanitizer, she immediately offered to help them, too. Within a week, she had supplied 100 bottles of hand sanitizer at cost. The Nebraska Trucking Association will work with the Nebraska State Patrol to distribute the sanitizer to truckers at weigh stations.
“It’s humane, and it’s doing the right thing for the right cause,” Sue said. “These truckers don’t have the opportunity to stop and wash their hands. I know that. I’ve been there, done it.”
For a year, Sue worked with her husband driving a semi-truck from Nebraska to California every week. She often took the night shift.
Sue joined GROW Nebraska® in 2019 to further her goal of making Frontier Soaps her full-time business, and now she is well on her way thanks to GROW. She has received many more orders for hand sanitizer because of recent GROW Nebraska® publicity. She estimates her orders have grown by 80-90 percent since joining GROW Nebraska®.
“I can’t say enough good about GROW,” she said. “If anyone ever asks me about joining GROW Nebraska®, I would give them a 110 percent referral.”
Sue’s hand sanitizer retails at $5.99 for a 3-ounce bottle and $11.75 for 6-ounce-bottle at the Buy Nebraska store in Kearney or through phone orders. Her product is also available online.
My Serenity Body Lotion, LLC
Karen Wedergren, owner of My Serenity Body Lotion LLC, in Omaha had also recently started making hand sanitizer because she couldn’t find it in the stores.
She offered to make 145 containers of hand sanitizer at a price just to cover her costs for the truck drivers because she wants to do her part to stop the virus.
“Making money is good, but so many people are charging outrageous amounts,” she said. “I don’t want to capitalize on what’s happening. I want to help protect people, and I want the virus to go away.”
Karen also started her business five years ago. Before that, she created products for herself and her friends – mainly lotions. She had tried many lotions from big-box stores and couldn’t find one that worked all day, so she started experimenting with making her own. After several trials and errors, she came up with a lotion that worked.
Since then, she has expanded her products to include bath bombs, solid lotion sticks, lip balms, beard balms, shampoo bars, soap and whipped soap sugar scrubs. She hand crafts all of her bath and body products with natural ingredients that nurture and protect the skin.
And, now she plans to keep hand sanitizer as a permanent part of her business. The product retails for $5.50 for a 4-ounce bottle.
Karen said she joined GROW Nebraska® in late 2019 to participate in GROW’s Nebraska® State Fair store. Her long-time dream has been to have a My Serenity Body Lotion booth at the fair.
“There’s been so much I’ve learned with GROW Nebraska® in the short time I’ve been a member,” she said. She looks forward to attending her first MarkeTech conference in July, and she has also enjoyed learning new skills and business knowledge from GROW Nebraska’s® free monthly webinars.
Kent said the hand sanitizer orders from Karen and Sue have been “super helpful.”
“These GROW Nebraska® members proved that they can be counted on to keep up the Nebraska Strong effort,” Kent said. “Truck drivers right now are facing huge obstacles as they try to keep America moving. Everything from closed restrooms and restaurants to loading dock managers who won’t let them get out of their cabs. Their trucks are literally their homes right now. But like all of us, they need supplies too and are facing empty shelves. The supplies we are handing out, including the sanitizer bottles from GROW members, could help keep them healthy so they can keep on trucking.”