Family sanitizer business increases production and hires, while others slow

NEWS 04:00 AM by Matthew Strader  Brampton Guardian


Brampton Hand Sanitizer Manufact

The hand sanitizer production line at zytec, a company based in Brampton. – Bryon Johnson/Torstar

From 10,000 a month, to 80,000 a

Owners of zytec, Raffi and Ara Nalbandian with their father Armin. During the coronavirus pandemic, their business has expanded. – David Benchitrit photo

Brampton Hand Sanitizer Manufact

The hand sanitizer production line at zytec, a company based in Brampton. – Bryon Johnson/Torstar


Raffi Nalbandian and his brother Ara are finding a way to enjoy a period of pandemic that is punishing most of the businesses around them.

And they credit three things to their recent success: The right product at the right time, a hard-working, dedicated and brave staff, and a small family-owned businesses ability to be flexible with the time.

Their business is zytec Germ Busters. Their father, Armin, began the company producing aerosol water repellents for shoes. Since its beginning, however, the company has evolved into producing a wealth of different products.

“Anything that goes into a spray can, we can do,” Ara said.

They’ve developed automotive products, hair care, hair sprays, mousses, industrial products, cleaning supplies, sunscreens, insect repellents, foot care and more.

But, it was a line of sanitizers they began producing after another significant pandemic came and left Ontario that is so relevant now.

“I think it was about 2003,” Raffi said. “Just after SARS. We got our drug licence to produce these kinds of products and started making gels and small quantities of (sanitizing) sprays. Really didn’t sell much over the years. They were mainly sold through office supply companies.”

But since the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused the world on the need for sanitizers, business at zytec has exploded, and Raffi and Ara are focused on adapting to meet that demand.

They’ve created a two-shift cycle for their employees and ensure the shifts do not interact. They’ve introduced physical distancing in their production lines and have administrative and office staff working from home — all the public health guidelines they have supposed to follow. But in the middle of this, they have also hired 23 additional staff, and increased their production dramatically.

The sales of their other products have dropped dramatically, but the increase in their sanitizer business has seen them able to keep their present staff and add to it.

“If it hadn’t been for this business, we would have had to lay off maybe more than half of our employees,” Raffi said. “But because of this need, we have kept everyone employed and hired more people.”

The company has seen their production of sanitizers increase from approximately 10,000 units a month, to nearly 80,000 a day, with hopes of producing up to 150,000 units a day.

“Over the last couple of months, we’ve worked 24-7 and the team has worked incredibly hard to bring our products to market.”

They are working on a line of surface disinfectants and wipes to release with a variety of their gels, foams and sprays.

“We’re motivated as a team to fight this pandemic, and that’s really what’s motivating and driving all our employees,” Ara said. “The challenge for us in the future will be predicting where this is going to go. Obviously, demand will start to drop at one point for these types of products, so it will be finding a balance between these products and others we are producing. We’re lucky to be very diversified. What’s important is having the agility and flexibility a small business like ours has, to be able to do that.”