Phase One: Manufacturing and construction companies start working again

Posted at 6:35 PM, May 19, 2020

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — As we start phase one of re-opening, construction and manufacturing companies are shifting back into full gear. For some businesses, it's a difficult adjustment.

"Right now we'd be in our peak season, you know? And now we're gonna have to go from a grinding halt to a full sprint and that's gonna be pretty difficult," said Jesse Kohler, President of Kohler Awning.

The manufacturing company has been shut down since March 20th, so Kohler was relieved to hear they could start re-opening, but worried about the path ahead.

"It's like building the company from the ground up again, but already having 100 years worth of customers," said Kohler.

They've been so busy, they've had to shut off the phones and send customers directly to their website. They're 7-8 weeks behind where they would normally be and are working with a new protocol. All employees must wear masks and anyone who enters the building must have their temperatures taken.

"I hope the customers out there are very patient with us, we're doing the best that we can. But the guys are doing very well, we've got a good system in place," said Kohler.

He expects to be running at full capacity in the next week. In the meantime, he has a word of advice for fellow business owners.

"Plan ahead. Talk to your managers ahead of time, try to have a good protocol in place. Try to have a thermometer if you can," suggested Kohler.

Employees at The Vinyl Outlet have a plan in place as business picks up for them as well.

"People are able to call in, make their order, pickup curbside, as well as make appointments, we can have one customer in the showroom at a time," said Vicky Murchison, Operations Manager.

The fencing and decking installing company did not have to close down completely as they were listed as an essential business, but with people going back to work, they're receiving an uptick in calls.

"We're seeing a lot of increase in deck business, porch business. The biggest thing is there are so many more people that are coming into people's homes now between Instacart, pharmacy deliveries, people are really focused on safety," said Murchison, who is looking for more workers.

It's a work in progress for both companies, who say safety is top of mind.