C-store Suppliers Switch Gears to Meet Demand Driven by COVID-19 Pandemic

Hershey face masks

NATIONAL REPORT Convenience store industry suppliers are doing their part to combat COVID-19 by producing much needed protective face masks and hand sanitizer that will be distributed to organizations and communities across the United States.


The Hershey Co. is committing $1 million to acquire, install and staff a new manufacturing line dedicated to the production of face masks. The new line will be capable of producing up to 45,000 masks per day and will become operational near the end of May.

"Supporting our communities in difficult times is part of our legacy, and an important value that our current employees share," said Michele Buck, president and CEO. "From the building projects that created local jobs during the Great Depression, to producing military rations during World War II, we take great pride in making a difference where we can."

Hershey is leveraging its internal engineering capabilities and its relationships with equipment manufacturer JR Automation and General Motors, which is making similar masks, and moving quickly to address the nationwide shortage of protective equipment, according to the company.

"Disposable masks will be an integral piece of protecting the health and safety of our employees, their families and our community as we move forward over the weeks and months ahead," said Chief Supply Chain Officer Jason Reiman. "Changing how we work, and adding this capability is a testament to the adaptability of our team, and our desire to make a difference."

Some of the other initiatives Hershey has undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Making cash donations to a variety of partners to support basic needs in communities where it operates.
  • Expanding its donation programs to support hospitals and healthcare institutions across the country.
  • Working with the professionals from the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center by making donations of N95 masks, surgical gloves and hand sanitizing stations, as well as donating warehouse space and supply chain expertise to operate a 22,000-square foot distribution center on the Hershey Co. campus to help the flow of supplies from Penn State Health to its network of providers.

"Caring for communities is not about taking any single action," Buck said. "It's a combination of many people taking many actions from a place of shared values and a sense of responsibility for one another. It's one of the many things I cherish about leading the remarkable women and men of The Hershey Company."


Anheuser-Busch InBev is leveraging its capabilities, relationships and reach to provide assistance to those in need by producing and distributing hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing need across the U.S.

Its flagship breweries in Baldwinsville, N.Y. and Los Angeles are producing hand sanitizer alongside their partners at Cutwater Spirits in San Diego and Devils Backbone Brewing Co. in Roseland, Va.

Anheuser-Busch will distribute the sanitizer through its wholesaler network to the brewer's longstanding partners at the American Red Cross, to support critical relief efforts such as blood drives and emergency shelters, and to communities in need, with the help and direction of government authorities.

In order to keep its employees safe and reduce overall demand in the market, the hand sanitizer is also being distributed to the Anheuser-Busch and wholesaler employees who remain on the front lines.

"Our communities and our people are incredibly resilient," said Adam Warrington, vice president of better world at Anheuser-Busch. "By providing resources to those on the front lines, we are committed to doing our part to support the individuals across the country who truly represent the best of the American spirit."

The initial production run from the Baldwinsville brewery totaled nearly 90,000 eight-ounce bottles and was delivered to support local communities and relief efforts in California, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Additional supplies of hand sanitizer from the upstate New York brewery are being delivered to emergency management agencies, food banks, and healthcare systems in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington, D.C.

To date, the company's flagship breweries have provided more than 175,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to 10 states and Washington, D.C.

"At Anheuser-Busch, we know we can't solve this problem on our own, but we can play a vital role," Warrington said. "It's amazing to see what we can do when we all work together and we are thankful for our partners at the American Red Cross as well as our suppliers who have made this initiative possible."