When CentraCare needed hand sanitizer to distribute to frontline workers and other employees, our ePromos team was able to step in beyond the role of promo product provider.

Despite the intense havoc the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked across the globe, one surprising gift has been the new connections forged between businesses, organizations, and individuals in local communities who are ready to spring into action to help others. It was exactly this energy that led to a deepened connection between our team at ePromos and CentraCare, a Central Minnesota healthcare system.

Identifying a Local Connection

CentraCare typically sources products for their hospitals from national manufacturers, but due to the ricocheting impact of Covid-19, they’ve found themselves valuing their local connections in St. Cloud and across Minnesota more than ever. “Organizations across the state [are] coming together to really help one another,” says Alyssa Kangas, CentraCare’s Senior Director of Contracting & Procurement.

CentraCare’s unique needs and shifting strategies were part of the driving force that gave us an opportunity to creatively fill new gaps—as well as help support those on the front lines of the pandemic.

Identifying A Growing Need

“This all stemmed from a conversation with my wife,” explains Dan F., Senior Brand Manager with ePromos. His wife works for a command team for the St. Cloud Hospital, which is part of the CentraCare Health System. She works to help directors from various departments manage their response to the virus. When Dan mentioned over dinner that ePromos was going to be receiving a shipment of hand sanitizer at a time when it was becoming increasingly difficult to find, she immediately asked, “Can you get gloves too?” That first conversation led to a new connection with the procurement side of the hospital.

Meeting Demands In Changing Times

At the time CentraCare was experiencing their greatest need for hand sanitizer, ePromos still had around 9,000 8-ounce bottles of sanitizer available for order. However, the hospital needed them sooner than they were scheduled to arrive.

Alyssa explains that while CentraCare had plenty of extra bottles ready to fill, they lacked the sanitizer they needed to meet demand. This is where we were able to go above and beyond our typical client procurement process and step in to actually fulfill the order at the supplier level.

“We came together,” Kangas shares, “… it really changed the game for us.” Since CentraCare had their own bottles, Dan was able to facilitate a somewhat unorthodox partnership with the help of Tom, in which ePromos in which would take over fulfillment of the order as well.

“We ended up filling 5,750 of their 16-ounce bottles,” says Dan. And even better, the arrangement led to CentraCare getting the sanitizer earlier than expected. That meant putting urgently-needed supplies into the hands of frontline workers faster—a win for everyone.

A Community Steps in to Help

As the pandemic has reshaped the hospital landscape, CentraCare’s work has become more important, and more complex, than ever. Fortunately, their vital role has been supported by not just our organization, but an entire community eager to help.

Early on, for example, CentraCare found they were running short on face shields. Dustin Maddy, Sustainability Program Analyst for CentraCare, shares that “when word got around that face shields were running in short supply, a maker’s company out of northeast Minneapolis actually reached out to us and offered to print us out shields and then give them to us for free.” Around the same time, St. Cloud State University also contacted us with a similar offer through the use of their 3D printers.

“It’s been quite an amazing process,” says Dustin, “I can call up just about any company in town and ask them for something, and they just respond ‘how can I help?’”

More Than Just Logos

Though working with clients in support of their marketing and branding needs in a large part of what our ePromos representatives do, CentraCare wasn’t necessarily interested in having their logo on their sanitizer bottles.

However, since a label with ingredients needed to be printed anyway, we were able to provide the healthcare system with a professional label including their own logo, which was a little different than the generic labels they were used to. According to Dan, “They thought it was pretty cool.” That lead to the order for gloves, which at the time, were also near impossible to source, and since then more hand sanitizer which was sourced and shipped directly by ePromos.

Get behind-the-scenes with the Supply Chain & Logistics Team at CentraCare and hear how ePromos made a difference:


Throughout the pandemic, ePromos has been willing to go the extra mile to find unique ways to fill a need or be part of a solution. From updating languages on Covid-19 hygiene guideline magnets for use in senior living housing to filling sanitizer bottles for CentraCare, our team is ready and willing to go beyond branding to support the community.

Have an idea you want to discuss? We can’t wait to hear it. Call us, the Promo Know-How People, to let us help you work through your next challenge or create a campaign specific to your needs!