MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One thing you can always say about American Small businesses is that they are survivors and many proved it during the pandemic.
One South Florida small business realized a product they created to protect their employees could sell big and it did.READ MORE: South Florida Family Encourages Booster Shots After Vaccinated Relative Dies Of COVID-19
Based in Hialeah Gardens, Premium Tech Coating, a company that makes the film used to tint the windows on your car and home had a great year in 2019 and a good start in 2020, then same for the start of 2020. Then came the COVID pandemic.
“We needed to remain open and we need to generate revenue because I have an obligation with the employees,” Alex Sikorski of Premium Tech.
Sikorski scrambled to find masks to provide his staff early on when masks were hard to come by.
“All of a sudden I said wait a minute you know shields, people talked about shields and that is when it kicked in. We can do that,” Sikorski said.
Sourcing the proper material, shields were created for his employees. Then came “the pivot,” the reinvention so many businesses have experienced during the pandemic.
“Wait a minute, we not only could use it for ourselves, we can, you know, put it on the market,” Sikorski said.
Premium Tech put the shields up on their website and sales took off. Especially to grocery chains, banks, restaurants big box stores and Alex got even more inventive.READ MORE: 'Unacceptable,' South Florida Haitian Leaders Outraged Over What Happened In Del Rio, Texas
“Instead of having the premium shield, you will have the company logo on the face,” Sikorski said.
While Premium Tech retooled to produce the shields, which were selling well, the business still faced challenges.
They had long partnered with FIU’s Small Business Development Center, which helps guide small business owners with operational advice.
During the pandemic, SBDC assisted Alex in clearing the way to help secure important financing.
“For COVID we got reconnected with them in terms of getting disaster loans, disaster capital and as you heard in the story, was able to pivot successfully and they grew, hired more people,” said Brian Van Hook, Regional Director of SBDC/FIU.
“Ultimately, we need to get him a commercial loan because sales were growing… A good problem to have.”
The pandemic will continue to have an impact on small businesses as they continue to dig out of the pandemic.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 53,000 In Florida
If your small business needs help, click here to learn more about the SBDC.