NORRISTOWN – When the coronavirus pandemic struck in early 2020, many companies pivoted their operations. One of those companies is Crazy Aaron’s, the maker of Thinking Putty.
When the company was ordered to shut down in March 2020 due to the spread of the virus, founder and chairman Aaron Muderick said yes – for three days. On the fourth day, the company reopened as a producer of hand sanitizer.
Muderick said Crazy Aarons had the ingredients he needed and the ability to “mix and dispense” in large quantities.
The first 100 gallons of the product were given to first responders.
So far this year, the company has donated more than 37,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to various local schools, facilities and non-profit organizations.
A commitment to the community is something that Muderick said is “in the fabric of who we are,” as a company.
“I like to solve problems. It was a problem and they were uniquely positioned at that point to be part of the solution, ”said Muderick. “I don’t live in a world where I say ‘someone should do it’, adding that if they have the ability, they want to help.
Most recently, the company donated 6,156 bottles of hand sanitizer to the Norristown area school district, all made in Norristown.
“We must all continue to do our part to help our communities overcome the pandemic. Clean hands can help limit the spread, and that’s why we felt the need to provide our local school system with much needed hand sanitizer, ”Muderick said, adding that there is a need to continue to grow. focus on simple health protocols “as a key defense against future epidemics.”
“Now that the students are back to school full time, we really want to keep them here and healthy too. This incredible gift from Crazy Aaron’s will help us keep them in school and we are so grateful for their generosity and kindness, ”said Christopher Dormer, Superintendent of the Norristown School District, in a statement.
Muderick said the company initially focused on the need for hand sanitizer in the community of Norristown, but that demand was starting to wane, “we have supported our customers – independent toy stores through the country “by providing a disinfectant for sale.
When the company was able to reopen its main production in June 2020, demand from their customers was not as strong – impacted by the pandemic. The plant managed the two operations side-by-side at the company’s existing nearly 100,000 square foot facility in Norristown.
Muderick said the company has just finished producing the hand sanitizer because traditional suppliers are able to meet the need. The company is once again focusing all of its production efforts on creating Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty products.
Muderick moved production of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty to its location at 700 E. Main St. in Norristown in March 2018, after overtaking its Phoenixville location. Muderick added that the company’s office is in Narberth and there is a need to consolidate the company’s operations. He had considered several other areas, but ultimately chose to purchase the Norristown building, which dates back to 1898, when it was a knitting mill. More recently, it was the former home of Gretz Beer.
In addition to the production operation, the site is also home to the company’s retail store, which also opened in 2018.
Muderick said the company will soon be offering curbside pickup for the holidays.
“Customers will be able to order online and pick up here,” he said, adding that the new initiative will launch in early November and customers will see an option on the website for curbside pickup.
Muderick said he currently has around 100 employees, but would like to have 15-20% more. He added that the company is hiring for a variety of positions within the company.
Muderick invented the non-toxic silicone-based thinking putty in 1998, after enjoying another putty product for many years. This one had been around since 1957 and Muderick believed there had to be a way to improve it.
First, he said, he needed to learn chemistry on his own – by borrowing textbooks from friends.
“I was interested and motivated,” he says.
The process of moving from an idea to a product went fairly quickly, starting in September 1998.
“A month later I was making it myself and at the end of 1998 I presented it to colleagues and sold it in bags under my desk. “
For more information on Crazy Aaron’s, visit crazyaarons.com