Making It: PlexG Creates Shields To Protect From Coronavirus
Editor’s note: This is part of a series exploring how Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs and small businesses have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and their plans for moving forward.
Maker: Tam Pham
How long has Cleveland been ‘home’ for you?
I came to Cleveland in 1975 as a Vietnamese refugee. When I got out of college, my dream was to start up a company to unite my family together. In 1988, we started Talent Tool & Die; I was able to bring all my brothers and my family members into the company. We do a lot of stamping, assembly, we do a lot of fabrication for the golf cart business. That brought us to build our capacity and capability of what we do for PlexG right now.
A young Tam Pham with his family (second from left, front row). [Tam Pham]
How has demand for your plexi-glass shields changed since you started PlexG back in March?
I think the demand has started to increase. Because during the time from March until maybe June or July, people didn’t know what they want, didn’t know what they need. And they keep thinking, this pandemic is going to go away quickly in the summertime. Summer came, is almost gone, and the virus keeps increasing. So now people are stepping in and saying, ‘we need our protection.’ And that’s how the demand is right now, it shoots up.
Nail salons were among PlexG's early clients. [PlexG]
Do you think people will be needing to use PlexG products for a long time?
I hope they don’t have to use it a long time because we don’t want to deal with this pandemic going on like this, but right now, we have no choice but facing it. And I hope it will go in the short term, but I don’t know what that short term is gonna be. So we just have to do what we can do to protect people out there.
PlexG shields surround juror's seats in the Lorain County Courthouse. [PlexG]
You started your own company, Talent Tool & Die, over 30 years ago. What’s been a major key for success in running your business?
The most successful thing we do here is work as a team. That’s number one, that’s a key point right there. And secondly, we just have to be honest and upfront with people on what we can do and cannot do. The stuff that we cannot do, we can work with them, then we come up with a solution and can make it for them. That’s how we’ve been doing it.