GOJO, the Akron-based manufacturing company which makes the Purell-brand hand sanitizer, announced last week that it would lease 700,000 square feet of space at the IX Center as storage for its inventory, which has increased substantially during the viral pandemic in which hand sanitizer has been a hot commodity.
In a statement Friday, GOJO said that its production of Purell has increased by 300% since last year. It opened
a manufacturing plant in Maple Heights and another in Stark County earlier this year to keep up with demand and has hired additional workers at its other Ohio sites.
The lease announcement comes only two months after the IX Center, an enormous exposition facility adjacent to Cleveland Hopkins Airport, announced that
it would close after 35 years in operation, due the pandemic's decimation of the events industry.
The City of Cleveland has owned the facility since 1999 and said, in a press release Friday, that its lease agreement with the IX Center allows the IX Center Corporation to sublet space in the building, even though it's no longer hosting large consumer events like the Auto Show or Boat Show.
The city's release said that IX Center Corp. had sought rent relief earlier this year, but that those discussions were discontinued when the IX Center became current on its rent.
The terms of the GOJO lease, beyond the two-year time frame and the 700,000 square feet of space, were not disclosed. GOJO Public Relations released a statement from GOJO President and CEO Carey Jaros.
“Today, our amazing team is making and shipping over 1B doses of PURELL® products every week,” said Jaros, in the statement. “The dramatic steps we’ve taken to increase availability, including employing creative solutions like utilizing the I-X Center, are allowing us to serve frontline workers, schools, businesses, and to make PURELL hand sanitizer readily available again to consumers on the retail shelf and online.”
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