NORTHBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- Platinum Sanitation in Northbrook is a decontamination business for residential and commercial companies, a brand new business that only began with the COVID-19 crisis.
"While everyone was out buying toilet paper, I was buying hundreds of gallons of anti-viricides," said Justin Jacobson of Platinum Sanitation and Platinum Events.
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Jacobson spent years doing event production with Platinum Events. The business did big party and event set-up across the country. At the end of February, Jacobson saw the need to change fast if he wanted to keep his staff employed.
"There was no way that I was going to sit them down and say, 'Thanks for the last 10, 15 years but, sorry, we're done,'" he said. "I couldn't do that."
"I said, OK Justin, I'm in," said Fatima Lopez, employee. "If you're going to start something new, I'm in."
Lopez used to do the event set up and inventory of supplies with Platinum Events. Now she is part of the decontamination crew. She admitted she was a little nervous at first, but then saw how it would work and the value of their new work.
And for other small business owners looking for ways to pivot, Jacobson had some advice.
"Utilize your resources and don't give up," he said. "It's just a hiccup in the road, and as entrepreneurs it's in your DNA to come up with a solution to a problem."
While some employees didn't come on to the new business due to health reasons, Jacobson hopes to bring those workers back once public events resume. In the meantime, he's hired more people to keep up with demand.
Coronavirus Illinois: Northbrook events company pivots to disinfection during coronavirus pandemic