Update: May 25, 2020
Today is Memorial Day, and I wish everyone a nice day.
These letters seem to get a little more difficult to write each week, and I must confess, Justin has filled in for me once or twice and got it done.
We are looking forward to once again doing the business we have been accustomed to. Even though we are not even close to a normal poor month, let alone a good month, I took last week as a sign, one of vision. If we can continue to grow on a weekly basis, like last week, we will be getting to the other side, soon.
The past two months, Justin Blair and Marcott Specialties did $464,411 in total. This is less than half of what we do in a normal month. The good news is that over the past three weeks we have seen weekly growth rates by the following percentages, 12%, 37% and 51% (week of May 4th over April 27th). We did receive a Macy’s order for the week of May 11th totaling $61,000, but it was an abnormal order and would not truly represent what is going on. I did not factor in this sale.
Yes, we did furlough most of our staff again last week. But I am looking forward to both the business growing over the next three weeks, and all of us back at Justin Blair full time.
WE WILL ALL BE BACK TO WORK THE LAST WEEK OF JUNE.
Enough about the business, and more importantly I would like to address you. Each and every one of you on a personal level. As the Country and States, begin to open up, I want you to be aware, we are still dealing with a very terrible disease, one, most of us can and will survive, but one that is also very deadly. Please make good decisions as you begin to enter the world again. Please make sure you practice “social distancing”, protect yourself and others when outside with other people are around by wearing a mask, or gloves, and wash your hands often. Your safety is our main concern. Our Justin Blair family has come this far without anyone going through the pain of Covid 19, but I personally know of 5 people who contracted it of which three are gone. Make good decisions everyone, and we will be fine.
Everyone, tomorrow is another day, but today, is YOUR day, and enjoy it with whoever you may. I look forward to seeing you all again
PS – We will be sending notices of updates to this page via text, each one of you are part of one of the two text groups that we are now using.
Update: May 10, 2020
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
Scott, Justin and I first and foremost extend our happiest wishes to all the mothers on this Mother’s Day. We hope your day is filled with joy and spending time with family, both physically and digitally.
This past week many states in the country, including states we serve, began to ease restrictions on citizens and on businesses. We are keeping a close eye on the changes within each state so that we are best prepared to meet the needs of our customers. This past Friday we held a conference call with our sales team to review customer feedback they gathered during the week. The information discussed is starting to give us a picture of what business will be like for the next month or two. It felt good to have everyone on a call together as a team.
Two weeks ago, a customer of Marcott Hosiery notified us that our disposable foot sox are now mandatory for trying on shoes. To support their requirement, they placed the largest orders ever received by Marcott Hosiery. We’ve been scrambling to package goods to support their needs, even going so far as purchasing product from our competitor. We are thankful for this business and what it may represent for the future.
Additionally, both Steve Madden and Macys have also sent in larger than normal disposable foot sox orders in anticipation of their stores opening. This week we will fill over 500 orders for Macys, something we have not done in many years. Plus, we start selling disposable face masks, washable face masks and hand sanitizer on Tuesday. We got lucky in finding sources for these products.
While these are exciting orders to receive and will help our businesses, overall our numbers are still very weak. We feel that the next three weeks will bring more insight into how fast our business will return and when we can bring more people back to work. For those that have been asked to come in and help, we again extend our gratitude.
Our health insurance agent has supplied us with a great, concise summary of the phased reopening plan Governor Pritzker released last week. Click here to view the summary. We are working to be prepared when the state reaches phase 4 by creating health/safety procedures and policies for the office and warehouse which will be shared as soon as they are completed.
Lastly, on Friday, Mark Cooper offered his resignation to Justin Blair & Company. Mark was with the company for 14 years and helped grow the company during his tenure. We wish him good luck for the future.
It has now been 7 weeks since our world changed. It has been a tough transition for all of us with continued uncertainty but know that we are doing everything we can so in the future we can all be together again. Please help by continuing to follow your state’s guidelines and requirements for personal protection and social distancing. Only by working together can we recover from this pandemic.
On behalf of Justin and Scott, be well and safe, and looking forward to seeing all of you soon
Update: April 20, 2020
Where to begin? First and foremost, we trust everyone is healthy and safe. Last week, was a very interesting week, with all kinds of documentation and forms to get filled out and signed. And the team got it done. We know, we were lucky and received PPP funds from the government as the money ran out on Friday. For that, we are thankful. You will be receiving a letter this week explaining how the PPP funds will be used to support payroll and essential bills. We are still waiting on our request for assistance from the city. Their current response can be found by clicking the below link.
This week started with all kinds of news on the television and radio. There are all kinds of mixed messages, opening the country, keeping it closed, what are we to do? In the end, all of us need to make good decisions and we too are trying to do this. I can tell you, when we make decisions at Justin Blair and Marcott Hosiery, we try to make the correct one with health and safety as the most important part of our decision. The support many of you have shown to Justin, Scott and me, has been greatly appreciated, and we thank you for it.
This week, we will continue to work to take care of our customer’s patients. We have communicated with our vendors on how we will be satisfying our obligations to them. We need our vendors to be on the Justin Blair team. They have worked with us very closely, especially when they know our largest accounts are not open, nor paying their bills. Today, we even received a note from one, offering to work for us “Pro Bono”, which means without pay. We thank her for the offer.
What can you do during this time? Simple, take care of yourself, and your families. Do not make a bad decision and put yourself or your family in harms way. Walk, but be six feet apart from who you are walking with, exercise, pay attention to your children, read them books, play with them. They are you most valuable asset, and they will be the ones who will be most hurt during this time.
If any of you want to say something on this web page, please e-mail me your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get it posted within 48 hours of receiving it. I know some of you text me, but do not sign their names, please sign your name when you do this. I like to know who it is and thank you for your texts.
On behalf of Justin and Scott, be well and safe, and looking forward to seeing all of you soon
Update: April 8, 2020
Everyone, we trust this finds you and your families doing well.
We want to update you on the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) which the Federal Government passed last week in the CARE program. We have applied for both Justin Blair and Marcott Hosiery, and after many delays and changes in the application we finally got our application submitted with the SBA. Working with John Sciaccotta and our Bank over the weekend, they got it done.
What does this mean? When we receive the funds, and at this time no one knows when the funds would be available, we can begin to pay employees again. This doesn’t mean you have to come to work, as we do not know if it is prudent, as we feel very strongly about staying indoors. But you will receive your paycheck for the next two months.
As of today, we have not heard back from the City of Chicago Resiliency Fund, which we did apply to last Wednesday. I am sure they too were overwhelmed.
These are very difficult times, and we recognize what each of you are going through. We know with the Easter and Passover coming this week, it is even harder. Please stay safe, make good decisions, and we look forward to when this is over.
Marvin, Scott and Justin
Update: April 4, 2020
We trust this note finds everyone and their families doing well. As you know, our thoughts are with you and we appreciate some of you who have called to see how things were going. We thank you.
On Wednesday, the City of Chicago’s $100 Million Fund, for small businesses went live. Even though we may not qualify, we did apply for the maximum amount allowed for working capital, which is $50,000.00. We will wait to see what happens.
On Friday, the Federal Care Paycheck Protection Program began accepting applications. This is the $2 Trillion Dollar Stimulus program you have been hearing about. We have applied for this to cover payroll. Our expectations are that we will qualify, and we will be able to resume payroll when we receive the funds. Unfortunately, we cannot make any changes to what was decided by in March.
Regarding Justin Blair business, it is similar to last week down 80% maybe a bit more. Orders are coming from the VA’s, DME, pharmacy, labs, o&p distributors and our etailers. Now 90% of the population is under Stay at Home Orders so we don’t see any increases soon.
We have had inquiries for foam to make Face Shields, but as of today, we have not gotten any orders. We have sent samples and pricing. We also received a shipment of hand sanitizer. We sold out in one day to one customer. We are trying get more for sale.
To you, who are on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and the Aflac program, we will continue to pay these premiums for you.
Stay inside and be well
Marvin, Scott, and Justin
Update: March 29, 2020
We hope this update finds all of you safe and healthy. We also hope that you are following the recommendations by the CDC and local governments for social distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying at home to limit your exposure to others. These are the best methods to keep from getting infected.
CORRECTION: Art Hart does not have COVID-19, however his mother-in-law was tested positive. We apologize for the incorrect information.
Our business this past week was close to our expectations as it was down almost 80%. All the retailers we serve are now closed, basically putting a halt to all the business generated from the stores. The only business that continues is our medical supply business; serving VA Hospitals, pharmacies and other medically oriented stores. We are unsure how long that will continue as more states make the decision to “shelter-in-place”. We thank the few individuals we have asked to come in and work for their efforts and risk they are taking by being out more than necessary.
Lastly, we want to comment on the city, state and federal government’s efforts to support businesses and employees from the devastating effects of the swift and immense economic slowdown.
There are multiple funds being made available, but there are requirements that we don’t meet. Regardless we are applying to see if exceptions will be made. We are now waiting for their response.
On Friday the President signed the CARES 2020 act, the $2 Trillion relief fund for the nation. In it are programs to give money directly to people and loans that companies can apply to support operating expenses that include payroll, utilities and other essential expenses. Our accountants and attorneys will be advising us if and how we can possibly participate in the newly created programs.
We will be processing payroll this week that includes the week of March 13th and one (1) weeks worth of vacation pay for those that have requested. Remaining balance of vacation pay will be paid out on the 4/17 payroll. Important: those that normally receive a paper check, we will be mailing them out – do not come to the building to pick up.
Please know that we are thinking of you. Reach out if you need to discuss anything, no matter the topic.
Be Safe and Stay Healthy
Marvin, Scott and Justin
March 22, 2020
Over the past week, Justin Blair & Company has experienced extremely detrimental reductions in our overall business. Retailers closing their locations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect their employees is resulting in an almost 80% reduction in sales to Justin Blair & Company. With the Governor’s announcement on Friday of a “stay-at-home” order, we initially understood that we could not be open during the order’s time frame. That is why we brought everyone together to say we were closing and unsure when we would reopen.
However, after spending the weekend studying the rule, reading official information from the state, US Department of Labor and consulting with our accountants and attorneys we now are better educated on what is taking place and how to navigate the future.
We can now communicate a more comprehensive status of the company and status of employment for everyone.
Per Illinois definition we are deemed an essential business, charged with servicing the medical markets such as hospitals and pharmacies. We will continue operations this week, but with a skeleton crew. Initially we have asked Andrew, Janet and Paula to work. Inbound emails are being rerouted to Scott, Marvin and Justin.
Official status for employees is that all are furloughed through April 7th. Company will evaluate this status on April 3rd and communicate to employees.
Being furloughed means that you still have a job with Justin Blair & Company when it returns to normal business, but no pay during the furlough period. You are entitled to request unemployment assistance while you are furloughed; the federal government has increased the flexibility states have on offering unemployment insurance benefits to support furloughed employees. Use this link for Illinois unemployement information
We understand the stress and uncertainty each and everyone of you feels, we have them also as these are extremely difficult times. We are doing everything we can to weather the immediate future so that when the crisis abates we can bring everyone back to work.
Employees participating in the Justin Blair & Company insurance program will continue to be covered, your insurance is not going away. This includes Blue Cross Blue Shield programs and Aflac programs. The company will continue to pay the premiums.
On April 3rd, paychecks will be processed for working the week of March 16th. If you intend on leaving (quiting) the company please advise us so we can include in your pay any vacation days owed by the company. Remaining vacation time for employees is shown in the table below.
We are actively looking at government programs and plans to assist companies such as ours with financial support. We will update everyone with information as we learn it and/or as it is communicated by government entities. We are aware that the government is working on bills that may provide payroll funding for small businesses, but nothing as of today has been confirmed.
|Employee||Vacation Time (Weeks)|
|Antczak, Paula L||2|
|Bernal, Jose G||2|
|Castro, Ana M||2|
|Linares, Andrew||2 + Rollover|
|Losoya, Matthew C||2 + Rollover|
|Quezada, Janet M||2|
|Guzman, Juana V||2|
|Martinez, Karen A||2|
|Raynes, Stephen A||1|
|Saucedo Huitron, Alma||1|
|Sheehan, Mark S||1|
|Tenorio, Manuel L||2|
COMMUNICATIONS WITH US
We will use this page to post information on a frequent basis. We recommend looking at once a day in the afternoon for updates. See our contact information below to reach anyone of us directly.
Landline: (561) 736-7249
Mobile: (847) 275-9106