ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While many companies are taking a hit during COVID-19, some essential businesses are continuing to find ways to make a profit. There was a large demand for certain items when the pandemic began and one local company found a way to feed that demand.

LiDestri Food and Drink is a local essential food manufacturing company and it has been operating every day during the pandemic. Employees are continuing to supply the food and drink they usually produce, but also started producing a new item: hand sanitizer.

Stefani LiDestri is the CEO of LiDestri Food and Drink. She said the idea to start producing hand sanitizer resulted from the high demand for it.

“More people started requesting hand sanitizer from us specifically, we were sending them in the direction of folks that we knew that were making it and then as the demand continued to increase we knew that it would just be the right thing to do to shift one of our spirits manufacturing lines so it was capable of making hand sanitizer,” LiDestri said.

The new product has helped, but being an essential business, LiDestri said business been consistent to how it was pre-pandemic.

“The demand from our customers as well as customers we hadn’t had before has certainly grown during this time we’ve brought on 50 plus employees in the Rochester area in the past three to four weeks.”

Steven Carnovale is a professor of supply chain management at RIT. He said at the beginning of March many people were panic buying, causing a demand shock.

“When we go to the retail stores and we buy everything we can, the retailers are going to go back to the wholesaler and say they need more, the manufacturing, and then you got all these different retailers doing the same thing,” said Carnovale.

LiDestri said her company employs 900 people in Rochester and they produce three million items locally per day.