Coronavirus: Tiger Packaging pivots to meet PPE needs for masks, gloves and disinfectants

During the pandemic, the Boca Raton company added personal protective equipment to the products it provides to restaurants and cleaning companies.

Susan Salisbury
Special to The Palm Beach Post

BOCA RATON — The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment, known as PPE, and Boca Raton-based Tiger Packaging is on the front lines of helping to fill the need for masks, gloves, sanitizing gels and more.

Peter Horwitz, its founder and chief executive, launched the import company focused on providing plastic and paper packaging and disposable goods to the food service and janitorial-sanitation industries in 2013.

“When COVID hit, I was fortunate enough to have had several relationships with people in Asia who were already doing safety products, which encompasses PPE products as well,” Horwitz said. “We have an office in Shanghai, China. Pretty quickly I was able to get my people in the Shanghai office to go and speak with our existing suppliers and see which ones would be able to help us secure additional PPE items.

“A big chunk of that was masks. That was the big initial need for product. That is how we really, really pivoted, and were able to do that quickly into PPE,” said Horwitz, 66.

The first couple of months of the pandemic, Tiger was selling 5 million to 6 million masks a month, but that has slowed as production has increased and masks have been stockpiled by restaurants, hospitals and others. The company has always procured masks as well as gowns, bouffant caps, bear caps and other products for the restaurant industry but not in the volume it has since COVID erupted.

Now there is a global shortage of single-use disposable gloves that is expected to persist through 2021.

Horwitz, originally from South Africa, moved to Boca Raton in 1994 with his wife and two children seeking a more secure and stable environment. In South Africa he worked in distribution and packaging, and for 10 years owned several restaurants, including the world’s second Hard Rock Café. It opened in Cape Town in the 1980s after the first one in London.

He worked for a Pompano Beach-based plastic bag manufacturer now known as ISOflex for 19 years before opening his own company.

“My business Tiger Packaging has allowed me to venture into imports of various products, both within packaging and within food service, health care, building maintenance and janitorial supply,” Horwitz said.

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