O’Rourke Sales Jake O’Rourke receives and breaks down cleaning supplies for the Nationwide PPE program

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Nationwide Marketing Group is working with distributor partner O’Rourke Sales to provide face masks, gloves and other personal protection equipment to the buying group’s members as they gradually begin reopening for business.

The O’Rourke Retail PPE Program, gives members of the furniture, electronics and appliance buying group the ability to purchase PPE products through a single, not-for-profit program, helping to protect their customers, store associates and delivery and install crews. Nationwide said O’Rourke is still finalizing pricing on the items, so it wasn’t available.

An example of a social distancing floor cling offered through the program.

Items include reusable KN95 masks; disposable masks, gloves, gowns and shoe covers; reusable face shields or protective goggles; hand sanitizer; cleaning solutions; and social distancing point-of-purchase materials.

“We’ve had a number of requests for PPE from our members, and securing PPE is very challenging right now,” said Derek Mattila, Nationwide’s vice president of business development. The O’Rourke program “allows us to tap into an established network of suppliers to provide our members with the masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and other supplies they need to ensure a safe in-store retail experience for customers and employees.”

Among the challenges in sourcing PPE right now that the program aims to solve is the large minimum order quantities required, inconsistent supply and volatile pricing, he said.

“As one of Nationwide’s longtime distribution partners, O’Rourke already had the processes in place to receive large-scale orders, break down and repackage them into more manageable quantities, and then distribute the products to locations across the United States,” Nationwide said.

O’Rourke said Nationwide’s request to help arm its members with PPE was an easy one to fulfill as the distributor already is sourcing equipment and hand sanitizer through its OSC Cares charitable arm to support small businesses, food banks, local hospitals and first responders. Owner and CEO Jeff O’Rourke’s daughter is a nurse working on a COVID-19 floor at a Milwaukee hospital, making this a personal issue as well.

None of the items offered through the Nationwide program are hospital- or surgical-grade and should not affect healthcare supply chain efforts. All items will be available for order through Nationwide’s proprietary eXchange platform and through the O’Rourke sales team.

“We know that everyone is eager to safeguard their customers and employees, so we have hired several additional employees to help support this program and process orders as quickly as possible,” said Jake O’Rourke, vice president of O’Rourke, who is spearheading the project.

Initial orders are being placed with supply sources this week, and O’Rourke expects to have the equipment in member retailers’ hands in early May.

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