Business partners turn PPE startup into solid business

Katy Smith
Darshan Vyas

Business partners Darshan Vyas and Ernie Malas created a viable business making hand sanitizer after being burned in their first attempt.

Vyas, a co-founder and managing director with Columbus-based Loud Capital, says the scramble for personal protective equipment in the early days of the pandemic led, unfortunately, to “a lot of fraud and misrepresentation in the space.” He and Malas were told they could obtain millions of bottles of sanitizer for interested retail clients, but it never materialized.

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“At the last minute, when the shipment was supposed to arrive, we were told the product was not available,” Vyas says. “My partner and I had to scramble to save our relationship and reputation with our retail clients and follow through on our word.”

The two were quickly able to convert a chemical plant in Cambridge in eastern Ohio into a sanitizer factory, making and bottling sanitizer under World Health Organization and FDA-certification guidelines. The new company, which they have named National Health Supplier, has been a success.

“What started as an accident became a full-fledged business doing more than seven figures in revenue in less than four months,” Vyas says. “We were able to create over 12 full-time and part-time jobs in addition to a network of sales reps who have thrived during this downturn.”

National Health Supplier has added other PPE products including masks, gloves, air purifiers and UV lamps to its offerings.

As an investor in other people’s ventures for some time now, Vyas was pleased to prove he still has the chops to create and grow a company of his own.

“Being an entrepreneur again is fun, yet it has its challenges,” he says. “I’m glad I went through the experience because I know I still have it within me. I am hopeful that this business will continue to grow and provide value to the community.”