eplastics

Family-Owned San Diego Plastics Company Fills High Demand for Plexiglass Barriers to Fight COVID-19

ePlastics, a 106-year-old, San Diego-based manufacturing and distributing company, is working in overdrive to keep up with orders during the pandemic

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Plexiglass barriers and sneeze guards are popping up in stores, banks, and hospitals across the country; the materials they're made of are created by a family-owned company with a long history in San Diego.

"Business is crazy we're up 50% and we're feelin' it and we're making it happen every day," said John Short, General Manager of ePlastics in Kearny Mesa, a 106- year-old company that manufactures and distributes plastics of all kinds.

Those plexiglass barriers that are now part of our "new normal" in public places where people need to keep social distance are made out of material shipped from or made by ePlastics and companies like them.

Business is crazy. We're up 50% and we're feelin' it and we're making it happen everyday

John Short, General Manager, ePlastics

Mission Federal Credit Union in San Diego has 32 branches using the barriers to protect both customers and employees during the pandemic.

"It took about a week and a half to deploy all the acrylics from ePlastics," said Angie Lasagna, VP of Community Relations.

The acrylics form the clear barriers between the tellers and the credit union members. It's just one of several safety measures Mission Federal Credit Union is taking to keep employees and members safe.

Short also said ePlastics worked with Sharp Healthcare and Rady Children's Hospital to come up with what best can be described as a clear acrylic box, that's open at one end. The patient lies down, face up inside the box while the doctor puts their hands through two holes to examine the patient while both are protected by the acrylic shield.

"The reality is, none of us saw this coming to the degree that we did," added Short, who said his company is working six days a week to keep up with the orders.

The reality is none of us saw this coming to the degree that we did.

John Short, General Manager, ePlastics

The company was founded by the Rench family of San Diego in 1914, four years before the Flu Pandemic. Although not much is known about its history, they sold plastic numbers and letters used on grocery store shelves. The Ridout family bought it next and after that, the Rabin family took over, renaming it ePlastics.

Today employees like Neil Halpin are taking on a job that might have been unheard of a century ago.

As a CNC machinist, he makes sure each sneeze guard is cut precisely to fit specifications.

"Each one of these shields gets somebody back to work so that everyone can be safe, " says Halpin.

As the father of young children, he is also aware of the pressures that everyone is under.

Each one of these shields gets somebody back to work so that everyone can be safe.

Neil Halpin, CNC machinist, ePlastics

"I have a little girl and a little boy and my wife stay home. And we live in the suburbs and we just try to get by and try to stay busy. Lots of walks. Lots of walks outside," he told NBC 7.

And how does he get through the day?

"Me? I wear my safety stuff. I do my work and then I go home and hug and kiss my family," he said.

The employees are also aware of what else that drives them. The American flag always hangs high from the warehouse ceiling in plain sight.

"The standard is there is no standard. We're creating things every day that are different and that's an important part of our country and an important part of our history and it should be an important part of our future," said Short.

I wear my safety stuff. I do my work and then I go home and hug and kiss my family.

Neil Halpin, CNC machinist, ePlastics
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