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With Purell vanishing from shelves, Acme and GOJO team up for local availability

Akron Beacon Journal - 3/4/2020

Hand sanitizer products are largely sold out at Acme Fresh Markets and other stores as people prepare for what could be an outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

But Acme and Purell maker GOJO Industries in Akron have teamed up to provide limited amounts of Purell brand hand sanitizer starting this weekend to holders of Acme customer loyalty cards.

"GOJO and Acme Fresh Markets are partnering to keep Akron healthy," said Katie Swartz, vice president of marketing for Acme corporate parent Albrecht Grocery Co. in Akron.

Acme stores will sell up to three, eight-ounce Purell hand sanitizer products only to a holder of an Acme customer loyalty/savings card, Swartz said. Each card-holding customer will be limited to buying three of the Purell bottles once a week and only while supplies last, she said.

Hand sanitizers have become, in retailer parlance, "highly allocated," meaning Acme is among the businesses no longer getting regular shipments, Swartz said.

The Purell products will not be on regular store shelves, she said. Instead, customers will have to buy Purell from either the in-store pharmacy or customer service counter at each of the 16 Acme Fresh Markets in the greater Akron area.

Swartz said this is an example of two local families -- GOJO and Albrecht are each privately owned -- coming together to help keep people in the area healthy.

"We are extremely fortunate to have a great local partner in GOJO," she said.

Acme Fresh Markets are seeing a strong uptick in purchases of cleaning items including soap and other items in addition to hand sanitizer, Swartz said.

Customer interest in those items is stronger than what the company typically sees at the height of flu season, she said.

"We are definitely seeing a stronger interest in disinfectants and cleaning categories," Swartz said. The grocery chain is working to keep its stores stocked with the in-demand items, she said.

Jim Mackinnon covers business. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ.

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