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Behind the scenes look at GoJo Industries, maker of Purell

Exclusive: 3News

NBC Nightly News showcases local manufacturer of hand sanitizer, which saw demand jump 300% during the pandemic.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt has brought its show to Cleveland to highlight our region’s resurgence after the pandemic.

And as part of the live broadcast, 3News Anchor Russ Mitchell got an inside look at a local manufacturing facility, producing one of the most coveted products during the pandemic.

The facility is GoJo Industries, which has locations in Akron, Cuyahoga Heights, Maple Heights and Wooster, where we visited earlier this month.

Inside, a production line can operate 24 hours, 7 days a week, making Purell hand sanitizer.  

GoJo is a family-owned business, started in 1946 by husband-and-wife Goldie and Jerry Lippman. The Lippmanns wanted to develop a product that would safely clean the hands of rubber factory workers.  They enlisted a scientist at Kent State to help. Hand sanitizer Purell was born. Jerry mixed the hand cleaner in the basement at night and sold it from the trunk of his car by day while Goldie managed the office.

GoJo has transformed over the years, but never so rapidly as it did in January of 2020, when company scientists and leaders began monitoring news of a highly infectious virus out of China.  It happened at the same time as a brand-new CEO took over, just in time to see demand for Purell skyrocket.

Russ Mitchell: “So how would you describe the past year?”

Carey Jaros, GoJo CEO and President: “Russ, I will tell you– that the past year has been wild. Our GOJO team members have been incredible, and there is no group of people on earth I would have wanted to spend the last 14-1/2 months with, other than– than those folks.”

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RM: “Were there days where your head was spinning? You didn’t know what was happening, but you knew you had to make moves very quickly?”

CJ: “I will say that there were plenty of days when my head was spinning. Being surrounded by a team of people who were so committed to our purpose of saving lives and making life better meant that even when my head was spinning, there were a bunch of people in the room and we were all rowin’ in the same direction.”

Tune into NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, to see the rest of our exclusive look inside GoJo industries, and how the maker of Purell has also pumped economic stability into northeast Ohio, during the pandemic.

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