Aloe King Sees Demand For Products Grow During COVID-19 Crisis
By Ricardo D. Cavazos
Matt Brown saw an opportunity and Aloe King of Mercedes has the key ingredient.
Brown had done business with Aloe King from San Antonio. His SA Fulfillment is a wholesaler shipper of a variety of health care products, which included aloe from Mercedes. In early 2020, Brown could see the demand for aloe and the various products it is part of – including hand sanitizers – would be in demand.
The threat of COVID-19 was approaching. The need for products Aloe King produces would be needed.
“There will be a constant need for people to carry around sanitizers,’’ Brown said. “Who’s got sanitizers right now? We do. We’re trying to get the word out.’’
Brown and his San Antonio-based company have partnered with John Sigrist, the owner of Aloe King, to bring a new energy to the 40-year-old Mercedes business.
“Aloe King is now a part of SA Fulfillment,’’ the San Antonio company’s website states.
The partnership brings together Brown’s expertise in marketing, shipping and retailing with the Sigrist family’s knowledge of growing and harvesting aloe in the Rio Grande Valley. At the Aloe King farm on Mile 6 Road North in Mercedes, Brown gives a tour that includes a walk through green houses, a retail shop, warehouse and a chemist lab.
Aloe King is a busy place these days. Product is made and manufactured at the farm and 8000 gallons of aloe are being shipped out weekly to meet national orders for hand sanitizers. About 30,000 smaller units in the form of two ounce and eight ounce bottles of sanitizer are being sent out of the Mercedes business every week.
“If we increased our production 10 times, there would still be a need for more product,’’ said Brown, a Colorado native with a background in investment banking and healthcare. “The demand is so high right now.’’
The majority of Aloe King/SA Fulfillment’s customers are hospital companies, Brown said. A major new order in recent weeks has come from a company that supplies soap and sanitizer products to churches across the country. Brown is working to boost the online and social media presence of Aloe King in raising its brand awareness and boosting sales.
SA Fulfillment sells and ships KN95 face masks, N99 surgical masks in addition to a variety of aloe and other health care products. A retail shop at the Mercedes farm also sells some of those products. The price of these products at the local level is often lower than national rates, Brown said.
The surge in business means Aloe King/SA Fulfillment is hiring locally. Brown is looking to expand his staff in Mercedes with new sales rep and warehousing positions.
“I like to support the local community however I can and to bring more jobs to the area,’’ he said.