Resin distributor California Plastics continues to grow after adding personal protective equipment to its product range.
Downey, California-based CP began offering face masks to its customers in February 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Abby Khanna said in a recent interview with Plastics News.
“The masks were beginning to be needed and we had customers asking for them,” he added. “We have been able to help hospitals, universities and small businesses.”
Some of the masks sold by CP use Acteev technology from Ascend Performance Materials. Acteev attacks and deactivates microbes in fabrics and engineering plastics. Laboratory tests have shown Acteev is more than 99 percent effective against viruses, including the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Khanna said CP sold 100,000 of the Acteev masks in the first week they were on sale. He added that although CP’s mask sales are not as high as they were a year ago – as the number of COVID-19 cases declines and more people are vaccinated – CP will continue to offer them.
The Acteev mask “is a more comfortable mask that is easier to breathe in and easier to wear for long periods of time,” he said. CP also offers face shields, surgical gowns and similar products.
Khanna launched CP in 2019 after almost 10 years with resin distributors Chase Plastic Services and Cresset Powers Ltd. The company now sells a wide range of technical and commercial resins with 20,000 grades.
According to Khanna, CP generates about 70 percent of its sales with engineering resins, although the amount of raw materials sold has increased in the past year. CP makes the majority of its sales in California, but also sells in other parts of the US as well as Mexico and Canada.
Khanna came to California from his native India in 2000 at the age of 20 with only $ 200 in her pocket.
“I’ve done a lot of different jobs and I’ve worked my way up,” he said. “I worked at gas stations, I was a bouncer in a strip club. … I worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week.”
In 2005, Khanna founded his own telecommunications company and resold unused cell phone minutes. He joined Cresset in 2009 after answering an ad for polymer sales.
“I didn’t know polymers, but I knew sales,” recalled Khanna.
Khanna now heads CP with his wife Bianca, who is responsible for running the 15-employee company. In addition to its Downey office, CP operates a warehouse in Commerce and uses other public warehouses. The company plans to move to a larger office in Irvine later this year and also hire five to ten employees.
Earlier this year, their story was featured by Khanna and Bianca in The Passionate Few, a YouTube video series about entrepreneurs. To date, the video has nearly 10,000 views.
And although supplies of many resins are scarce after winter storm Uri that hit Texas in February, Khanna said better days may be ahead.
“We hope that the resin supply will improve somewhat by the summer,” he said. “Better planning and open communication with suppliers are required.
“We want to be customer-oriented. By offering PPE products, we have opened many barriers and kept paths open, ”he said.