BRADENTON — Pet bowls and plastic lids. Just two of a slew of products created on a typical day inside the walls of Delaney Manufacturing LLC, a plastic injection molder in town.
But just last week the Bradenton business began catering to a new customer — a multi-national pharmaceutical company that’s ordered the holding trays needed to process doses of the vaccine used against the swine flu.
The trays store vials of the vaccine as they go from a loading machine and into a cooler, said Delaney owner John L. Smelser.
“When they are to be shipped, they are taken out of the coolers and trays and put into other packaging,” Smelser said on the phone Friday from his business on 29th Avenue East. “They clean the trays then reuse them.”
Initially the pharmaceutical company, which Smelser declined to identify, told him they would need about 25,000-35,000 trays.
“But now that the number of doses they are estimated to produce is 100 million, the trays we need to provide to them may reach as high as 50,000,” he said.
Delaney’s company has only been operational for just more than a year.
Prior to starting his company, Smelser had been in the real estate business. He bought the company after a friend with experience in the plastic business encouraged him to do so.
“We were fortunate enough to get their work,” he said of his company, named after his daughter. The business has six employees including himself and his wife.
The pharmaceutical company contacted his company on July 7 after it advertised online.
Delaney started making the trays about a week ago, he said.
“We’re busy,” Smelser said Friday. “I haven’t been home before dark for as long as I can remember.”
With the vaccine in high demand across Florida, it’s a tight deadline for Delaney.
They have to have their first order of 9,000 trays delivered to North Carolina by Oct. 27, he said.
There are about four manufacturing companies like Delaney’s in the area, including Rimer & Rimer plastics, said Nancy Engel, workforce business retention manager for the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council
“I’m not aware of any others doing anything like that, but I think it’s wonderful they’ve gotten the contract,” Engel said. “Those are jobs, and I also think that shows that the government really is pushing to get these out to the public.”