Thursday, March 26th, 2020 - Communication #8
This will be a quick update but a good one. Today was a good day at Boathouse. Special thanks to Meredith, Emma and Brian.
- We improved our design, shown here to the left
- We received the GREEN LIGHT from the State for our exemption to open when we begin production of the masks
- We have an approved product with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
We will work out a production plan and safety procedures that will allow employees to work in a safe environment. We hope to have some of our team back to work next week. Last outstanding item is to either secure fabric from the hospital directly or our own.
Revised design with Hospital provided fabric – 1 team could likely crank out 400 per day!
John & Kent
Thursday, March 26th, 2020 - PAY STUBS AND CHECKS
I would just like to let everyone know that ALL BOATHOUSE HQ pay stubs and checks were put into the mail. We’re mailing out all of to reduce the need for people to travel.
John & Kent
Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 - Communication #7
Kent, myself and JB are sitting in the factory war room, far apart from each other. Meredith, Emma, Andrea and Brian are on the cutting floor working on patterns and samples for making PPE. We are taking steps to convert our workplace to making PPE per previous communications. This will solve a number of problems including keeping cash coming in to Boathouse and allowing us to continue until this pandemic is over. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do! We believe we are days away from a solution that may provide some immediate healthcare value and speaking with multiple contacts about how we can help them.
Additionally we are investigating getting more industry specific fabrics into our factory in Philadelphia as fast as possible. This may take a while to purchase and receive reasonable yardage quickly. We are working with Burlington Mills, Milliken Industries and more to get stuff in here.
Kent has submitted another exemption request in order for us to be able to open the facility. We hope to have an update within days as to our ability to re-open to produce these and other garments.
Thanks for your patience, many are working hard to make this pivot a reality.
John and Kent
Original note regarding this effort that was sent to all of our customers:
To the Boathouse community:
For 30+ years Boathouse has been manufacturing custom athletic apparel for Schools and Teams nationwide and abroad.
We have always been committed to doing the right thing over these three decades, including manufacturing all of Boathouse apparel here in our vertically integrated, Philadelphia USA factory.
We employ hundreds full time with good pay and benefits. As our core business has come to a halt we have dedicated our company and ourselves to solving two of today’s most immediate problems.
We are ready to pivot all of our assets including our people, equipment, facilities and time to make urgently needed medical coats, masks, gowns, protective gear, etc.
We will operate with utmost care for our employees, with daily and constant cleaning of all surfaces that come into contact with people and by requiring employees to follow CDC personal care protocol.
We are committed to helping the medical community as much as we possibly can. And we are committed to helping our employees, many of whom are hourly workers that have been with us for more than 10 years.
Best to all,
John Strotbeck | Founder/CEO
M Kent Zambelli | President/COO
The Boathouse Team
Monday, March 23rd, 2020 - Communication #6
To all of our employees:
Due to the mandatory shutdown requirement from the Governor of Pennsylvania. effective Thursday, March 19th the facility was closed. Due to this shutdown, we will be unable to open the plant for at least the next 2-4 weeks and as such, we must immediately "furlough" all employees.
- Plant and HQ employees will receive their next payroll THIS Friday for hours/ time worked through last Friday and salaried employees will be reduced by changes we put in motion last week.
- We expect all paychecks/ stubs to BE MAILED OUT - if that changes we will let you know
- Sales employees, including our 4 inside sales people, will be receive their next check next Monday and that pay will also be affected by reductions as communicated last week in our call.
- I encourage all employees in all business functions to seek our unemployment payments in your state, many rules are being relaxed and many will no longer have a waiting period. Pennsylvania residents, click here for more info.
- At this point in time, we intend to make both the company and employee healthcare payments for the month of April so coverage continues after this month, if that changes, we will let everyone know
After Monday, we will temporary halt all payroll to all employees.
A very limited staff will be engaged to monitor online chat, customer service, pay bills, process payroll. We will attempt to keep costs to a bare minimum and then restart as we are able. We will communicate to customers that we will be closed and fulfill their orders when we return. I would ask that all sales opportunities continue to be closed in HubSpot and ask for Inside sales help this week to move orders into "Converted" status.
We have submitted an exemption request to re-open the plant and actively seeking the ability to produce "Life Sustaining" production of medical garments for the healthcare and medical industry. A small team will work on this effort and if successful,. may allow us to reopen the plant faster. As we are able to move forward on this, I will let everyone know.
This will be a very difficult time period for our plant community. Please do what you can to be safe, limit social contact and hope that we can re-open our business soon. We continue to get feedback from customers wanting to buy and have changed all marketing messaging to be forward looking to pre-season and the summer.
Thank you and please be safe.
John & Kent
Friday, March 20th, 2020 - Communication #5
Unfortunately I must share that there has not been much of a change in status in the last 24 hours. The management team is working on a few different initiatives which include an exemption to the shutdown order, financial support and a possible repurposing of the factory to produce other products in the short run. None of these are guaranteed or will happen right away.
Matt is working with the sales group to continue to secure orders from customers. We will review next week based on how to proceed with processing those orders.
Next week we expect to be 100% down in the Plant/ HQ with the exception of payroll processing. We intend to process plant payroll for normal disbursement and prepare the following week for sales payroll which is processed the week after and then ready ourselves for April’s healthcare payment at the end of the month.
John and I understand how difficult this is for everyone and we know there are more questions than answers.
As everyone will feel the effects financially within the next 2 weeks I would strongly recommend you begin looking into unemployment processing which will address those whom are affected with any negative impact. Government agencies are fast tracking applications in some cases so normal waiting periods may not apply. Each state will have its own process. Use your paystub to find relevant info you will need for your application.
I will continue to share news, good or bad, as it becomes available. I expect our next update will be on Monday.
Thanks, be safe.
John and Kent
Thursday, March 19th, 2020 - Communication #4B
As many of you have heard, the Governor of Pennsylvania ordered all non life sustaining businesses to close effective this evening at 8pm. We will comply with that order. All HQ/ Plant employees are directed to not come to the plant until you receive direction. At this time, the length of time of the mandatory shutdown is unknown.
Additionally, there are laws that have and are working through both the state legislature and US Congress. It is unknown the precise impact this will have but the intent of the legislation is specifically targeted at relief for businesses with fewer than 500 people and their employees and families.
What’s going on:
- We will be processing our company payroll on Monday as planned and disburse pay next Friday as normal. This payroll will reflect hours/ days worked and be affected by the changes we communicated over the past few days as applicable.
- We will continue to accept sales from sales reps and online sources. Sales should move orders into Ready Status and we will figure how/if/when we can convert those orders. Team stores should remain open.
We expect there to be a lot of questions and we will be working to understand how this affects our operation and our employees in the short term and long term.
This move by the state and federal government should highlight how important this is, please do your part by ensuring you and your family are safe and follow the guidelines from CDC and governmental officials.
John and Kent
Thursday, March 19th, 2020 - Communication #4
We’ve implemented our plan for Boathouse effective Yesterday. Priorities for this plan are:
- Health of our employees. We are doing everything we can to make the facility as clean as possible and continue to ship and provide income to most.
- All employees have been affected by pay reductions or furlough.
- The plan is based on the long term financial health of Boathouse. Severe reductions in costs had to be implemented immediately.
- The plan has a future look out to August. Of course we do not know what may change Nationally or locally that will effect Boathouse.
- Currently, the plan allows us to continue health care for all employees for this month … right now we intend to cover April
- We are assuming significant reduction to volume for the next 4 weeks; and we feel the risk we do not “get back to normal” until the end of the summer.
- We are accelerating marketing programs for our core business for fall business and at once business in order to capture demand.
Thank you all for your understanding. Please work effectively and efficiently and most importantly remain safe and healthy and take care of your family.
John and Kent
Wednesday, March 18th, 2020 - Communication #3
Last night, the governor declared manufacturing companies were consider “essential businesses”. Today there were no changes to our strategy to operate and manage the plant at a reduced level. We spent the day cleaning on the plant floor and in preparation for a limited plant operational staff to restart the plant tomorrow. Those employees have been contacted. Additionally, we have a sales/ customer service plan to support the plant moving forward. Externally, we have communicated with our customers and we are launching a number of promotions to help aid the salesforce in securing additional business.
I would like to ask you exclusively use the this page (www.boathouse.com/news) to get updates. We will let you know if conditions change. As always, please make sure you are attending to your family.
Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 - Communication #2
To all Boathouse Employees:
We have formed an executive team to help guide us through this challenge. This team includes Mike, JB, Matt, Omar, Brian and myself and John. This team is focused on ensuring we are considering the entire Boathouse community, measuring business performance and constantly looking ahead to what we know will be changing market conditions.
Of utmost importance is the health and safety of our employees. We are working to ensure that the business can stay operating and deals with the reality of a constantly changing market.
I believe the Boathouse community can expect the following:
We expect incoming demand (new orders) to be very limited in the next 2 weeks and continue to be low into the spring. While we want to maintain operations (producing and selling activity) we must dramatically slow down the operation or we can foresee running out of work. I expect that outside conditions will continue to worsen. This will have a significant financial impact to Boathouse as a business and to our entire community of employees, there is no way to avoid this.
We will create a production plan to operate somewhere around half our normal production output. I expect limited operations this week and we will have a plan for the next 2 weeks to operate on a limited basis. We will have to significantly pull back on support staff that will align itself to only what is needed to support limited sales and operations. Where we can have people work remotely, we will. However, ability to work remotely does not offset the real issue of not having enough immediately active work to execute against.
We will put in place some enhanced cleaning efforts in the plant and will have limited staff so we can reduce social distancing.
This will impact all the plant’s hourly employees, the salesforce and the office functions. People being asked to return to work will be contacted by your manager by the end of the day. I would ask everyone be sensitive to others … there will be many of our employees whom will not be working for the remainder of the month.
How will this affect me financially?
- Hourly workers that are scheduled to work will be paid hours worked as normal
- Hourly workers that we select to work remotely will be paid for the hours scheduled
- Salaried workers will receive their prorated pay for the days we assign
- Sales pay will have to be adjusted to more closely match active selling activities
- The company portion of the health benefits for employees on our health plan is covered through the end of the month.
- We cannot communicate impact to April benefits at this time. We understand the hardship that this will have on the Boathouse community. We are seeking federal and state support but at this time have limited understanding how this will work. You are encouraged to seek out unemployment assistance. If market conditions worsen, we may have to change our plans and/ or take additional actions. Your manager will be reaching out to address our future work schedule for the balance of the week. We will not be prepared to release that information until the end of the business day. Please focus on your families, limit contact and practice good personal cleaning. The ability of the Philadelphia region or wherever you reside is 100% driven by all of us limiting contact with others. If you are sick, please do not come to work.
Monday, March 16, 2020 3:34 PM - Communication #1
To All Boathouse Employees and Associates:
The City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsylvania have ordered all non-essential businesses to close at 5pm today, however we have been given limited direction and guidance as to exactly whom this applies. To give the management team some time to ensure we have the best plan for our business and our employees, we will BE CLOSED TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 17th.
Tomorrow will be considered an unpaid holiday for our workforce and will affect all employees. We will provide further guidance after we have been able to secure more information from either the city and peer organizations. The extra 24 hours will give us the time to review options and have a solid execution plan.
We will have a small team here tomorrow, including phone, finance, online chat and customer service coverage.
We have established two methods so we can keep you up to date on what is happening. We will use the following primary methods to keep you aware of how things progress:
Call Boathouse at 1-800-875-1883 and press Option 7 – we will leave messages regarding the facility
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