In the last three weeks, Pamela Lapierre figures she has made about 50 litres of hand sanitizer in her shop in Kakabeka Falls.
Already producing laundry soap and antibacterial hand soap, Lapierre said she thought the hand sanitizer would make a good third product after her sister gave her the idea.
“My sister called me and said the world is running out of hand sanitizer, can you make it? And I said sure,” said Lapierre.
What she hadn’t counted on was how much in demand hand sanitizer would become in such a short time as people bought up as much as they could when the COVID-19 pandemic became a reality in Canada.
“There’s some companies that have made some substantial orders but I don’t know if I’ll be able to fill them,” said Lapierre, adding that those companies are looking for quantities of 500 and 1,000 of her 100 millilitre bottles.
Right now, Lapierre said her main focus is making sure her community has enough. She has enlisted the help of Brandon Postuma, owner of Kakabeka Depot and councillor with the Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge, to distribute her product.
“It’s all I get calls for now,” said Postuma. “I’m the hand sanitizer man.”
Postuma said Lapierre has been making the stuff non-stop and he has been helping to source the ingredients.
“Then she gives me reduced prices and then I put out the hand sanitizer to every single business and the seniors homes throughout the whole village,” said Postuma. “Basically what we’re doing is trying to get this out to every business, and where the public are, everywhere in Oliver Paipoonge which is possible because we’re that small.”
Lapierre said she’s not sure what comes next for her business, Intracycle Works Inc., but that she has lots of materials on order and a large space that could be utilized in a different way.
“We’re going to figure that out,” said Lapierre.
The product is made using isopropyl alcohol, aloe and tea tree.
“The tea tree binds bacteria and the alcohol kills it,” said Lapierre. “The aloe is to make it a little bit palatable.”
An aesthetician, Lapierre was poised to open a shop in Kakabeka Falls on April 1, offering products and services from facials and manicures to selling fire starters made from dried coffee and dance costumes on consignment. There’s also a coffee and tea bar.
Housed in the renovated Maier hardware building, Lapierre said she started with the idea in October and has since branched into many directions after meeting with people in the community to see what they wanted.
And while the opening date will be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Lapierre is looking forward to the place becoming a community hub.
“It’s a beautiful old building with so much rich history, everyone remembers it as the general store,” said Lapierre. “Everyone who comes in here has a story and a smile.”
(Originally published March 24, 2020)