Florida-based electrostatic spray equipment manufacturer ByoPlanet International reached an agreement with The Classic Center to use its exhibition hall for production on March 23, according to The Classic Center’s Executive Director Paul Cramer.
The agreement extends through May and will employ 40 current Classic Center employees, Cramer said.
ByoPlanet produces disinfectant equipment that propopels disinfecting chemical solutions to surfaces with full coverage, according to its website. Unspecified cruise lines, daycares, public transportation systems and medical facilities use ByoPlanet equipment, according to the manufacturer’s website.
The Classic Center assembled a task force to figure out how to use their venue spaces and prevent laying off employees after Athens-Clarke County passed restrictive large gathering ordinances on March 16, Cramer said. The Classic Center lost three weeks of its programming as a result of the restrictions.
The task force consulted with ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce CEO David Bradley and state Rep. Spencer Frye to determine ways to serve as a resource for the community and the hospitality industry, according to a press release.
Ryan Thornton, the ACC Economic development manufacturing & industry specialist, and Whitworth Land Corporation co-owner Richard Grant Whitworth helped to facilitate a partnership between the venue and ByoPlanet.
“As things are doing in this crazy, godforsaken time, ideas like this are hatched in the span of 24 or 36 hours,” Bradley said.
A client of Whitworth Land Corporation, ByoPlanet maintains a small manufacturing facility in Athens. Whitworth said his company was in the process of finding a larger permanent facility for ByoPlanet in Athens around a month before the pandemic occurred. The pandemic then caused the need for a “drastically increased” production of their products, Whitworth said.
ByoPlanet will continue working out of their exterior facility in addition to the assembly at the Classic Center, Whitworth said.
ByoPlanet will begin setting up in The Classic Center’s Grand Hall and begin the first round of hiring Classic Center staff on March 24, according to the release.
“This is a bit of an outside-of-the-box way of thinking of using our public venues to really do a greater good at a time when otherwise hospitality employees would be virtually out of work,” Cramer said.