CANTON When the Stay at Home order was put into action in mid-March, many businesses were and still are uncertain of what the future holds. Many companies like Gervasi Vineyard decided to see what it could do to continue operating in some form.


Gervasi, 1700 55th Street NE, Canton, joined many area restaurants and revised their business model to that of a carryout only eatery. Gervasi also decided to produce an item much needed throughout the community – hand sanitizer.


It had the equipment and within days of the government announcing approval to convert these types of facilities, the professionals at Gervasi were researching the process. General manager Scott Swaldo and his family decided this was one way they could help the community.


“When we learned that we could do it, we were 100 percent committed to doing so and it was full steam ahead,” Swaldo said.


The estate’s newest addition, The Still House (distillery), had most of the equipment and ingredients needed to produce hand sanitizer, including the ability to make grain alcohol. Gervasi converted the distillery from manufacturing spirits to manufacturing hand sanitizer.


The winery and distillery teams worked collaboratively to collect the necessary blend of ingredients to create the hand sanitizer. The first batch yielded more than 3,000 bottles of 18-ounce liquid hand sanitizer. It was hand labeled and bottled by members of the Swaldo family (owners of GV Destinations) and their friends.


The first run of product has been donated to the local community. Many went to hospitals and front-line defenders, including Aultman Hospital, Stark County Emergency Management Agency, City of Canton Health, fire and police departments, City of Green – which distributed it to its Fire Department – and the Stark County Emergency Management. In addition, each staff member at Gervasi Vineyard and The Twisted Olive (its sister restaurant in Green) received a complimentary bottle.


Gervasi is producing a second round of hand sanitizer. This production will be 900, one-gallon containers of the much needed liquid hand sanitizer that will be sold to the public on multiple dates, specifically to honor previous requests from businesses in the medical field, health care industry, essential businesses, and government agencies, including front line service departments.


“We are looking at a third round of production. We hope to have it ready to be distributed by the time we are able to open our restaurants and the rest of our business. Not sure of the size of containers for this round because it depends on the containers available, but we do know it will be a different size than the what was bottled in the other two rounds,” Swaldo said.


Swaldo said that many Ohio-based companies and local partners have helped supply materials for production including Berlin Packaging (discounted bottles); Label Aid (labels); ingredients for the alcohol including Swartz Farm (corn); Hartville Elevator (milling); Lellamand (yeast); and Berandi’s (boxes).


Gervasi’s product is a limited supply. Swaldo said he doesn’t know if the government will continue to allow facilities such as Gervasi’s to continue to produce hand sanitizers.


“We’ve been overwhelmed for requests for the product. This is an extremely limited supply, which we expect to sell quickly,” said Swaldo. “Therefore, we will limit the amount purchased by a company to allow us to help as many people as possible.”


Because the demand for the product has been so high, the best way to find out about updates on the sales and distribution of the hand sanitizer, visit www.gervasivineyard.com and sign up to receive GV’s email blasts, and follow Gervasi Vineyard on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.