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Arturo Taverna keeps sanitiser supply in local hands

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South Australian hair and beauty guru Arturo Taverna is quarantining its increased supply of hand sanitiser and hospital grade disinfectant to fill local shelves.

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Before demand spiked in Australia last month, the company was scrambling to fill export orders for countries reeling from the effects of COVID-19, but now director Andrew Taverna said Artav Australia was doing its best to only supply Australian clients from its Regency Park factory.

Australians took to social media to criticise the company after InDaily reported it was ramping up export orders to Asia in early February, despite it being well before the spike in local demand.

“From the moment we heard there was a need here we have moved production to supply locally,” Arturo’s son Andrew Taverna said.

“The problem is we are struggling to get vital ingredients, so if we can only produce small quantity at a time we are trying our best to prioritise the product between the most in need.”

A second shift has been added at Taverna’s family company Artav Australia to fuel the production increase as coronavirus impacts Australian warehouses and supermarket shelves.

The hand sanitising gel line is working overtime at Artav Australia’s Regency Park factory.

The company has also reduced production levels of some of its other hair and beauty lines so it can focus on its its Dispel sanitising products.

It now employs 60 staff and Taverna said it was committed to retaining and employing more people as many businesses closed their doors with new social distancing rules around the virus.

“For us the importance of doing business is two-fold, we want to get as much product as we can produce to the most important places,” Taverna said.

“We’re trying to understand and to identify the key places to provide our disinfectant and hand sanitiser.”

Hand sanitisers and face masks are selling out globally as consumers try to protect themselves from the spread of the virus. Other companies and distilleries that did not previously produce hand sanitiser have also pivoted to produce the in-demand product.

Taverna, whose father Arturo is well-known for running up to 30 hair salons throughout the state in his heyday, said it was important to recognise sanitisers and disinfectants being sold meet strict Australian standards.

“And if we can also provide products to businesses that help them keep their doors open, it’s important to know what effects that has on keeping people in jobs,” Taverna said.

The factory has a reverse osmosis water filter plant with UV sterilisation that can produce about 25,000 litres of water per batch as a base for the products.

Taverna said the struggle at the moment was in meeting demand, with production reliant on sourcing of bottles, caps and some ingredients.

Taverna works in the family owned business along with his brother Anthony, who is a director, his father Arturo who remains chairman, and the majority of the Taverna family across three generations.

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