Many businesses have been forced to scale back aggressively since March because of the global coronavirus pandemic. A few, however, have been forced to expand.
For Adam Selden, 50, of Melville, a quick pivot in business direction during a crisis has created new possibilities for Albatross Manufacturing. The brand Albatross Manufacturing (albatrossmfg.com) falls under Selden’s company, Quality Specialty Projects, which he founded in 2008. His company has distributed any number of items, but now it is focused on facemasks, which are in high demand these days.
“We had been doing some clothing and receiving government contracting, so we were working to supply products for those clients,” Selden said. “Our biggest was actually the Army.”
Selden secured a contract with the U.S. Army to supply their weight room and gym equipment for military fitness centers. He also worked closely with the American Red Cross, as his company supplied tarp materials for the foundation.
The Bayside, Queens native and University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus was candid in saying business started to drop off in mid-2019.
“We had a really bad seven months from August 2019 to, really, March 2020,” Selden said. “There was no federal funding, really, and we were working on government contracts.” He went on to say that the onset of the coronavirus pandemic provided an opportunity to jump-start his business.
“When this whole thing kind of got started, the Red Cross came to us and said we had to get started into looking into masks,” Selden said.
He and his business partner, Matt Delaney, of Manhasset, listened to that advice.
The pair scrambled to find manufacturers in China near the top of the year, but with the country facing serious pandemic restrictions, they were unable to secure a shipment immediately. Once the manufacturers were able to ship, though, Albatross received its first load, which it sent to the American Red Cross.
“Once we were able to, we switched over our company to do masks,” Selden said. “After we sent our first order to the Red Cross, we started taking orders for locals on Long Island.”
Selden, who had worked out of a Melville office with no warehouse to that point, then started shipping masks out of his home. After sending masks to roughly 8,000 homes, the Albatross founder knew he needed a new way to go about this.
With the help of Delaney, and the hiring of a few part-time employees, Albatross soon shipped hundreds of thousands of masks to residents across Long Island, with more than 100,000 of those coming to Nassau County.
Albatross even began donating masks to local fire departments and essential workers. “We would give the people at the gas stations masks; we donated hundreds of them,” Selden said.
The company has since expanded. Selden said there are a few reasonable next steps, including distributing hand sanitizers, hand wipes and wall-mounted automatic thermometers to take the temperature of any person who walks past. The demand to expand in product and volume has forced Albatross to look toward securing a warehouse in Plainview.
“If we get this, we are going to need inventory, and I plan on hiring a staff to do that,” Selden said. “We wouldn’t be able to do the business without it. Because the way we’ve been operating, in the office in Melville, it’s just me and Matt.”
Selden said he would continue to build relationships with distributors to stimulate business growth and be able to reach more people.
Selden finished with, “When we first started this, I didn’t think it would be end up being our business. We wanted to just give these out to the people. Then it turned into the business.”