American Nitrile, a disposable glove manufacturer, will receive $105 million in debt financing from Orion Infrastructure Capital to support the completion of its Grove City factory.
Private equity firm Orion Infrastructure Capital, founded in 2015, is headquartered in New York and Houston. The company has $2.8 billion in assets under management.
American Nitrile was founded by CEO Jacob Block in 2021 in an effort to overcome personal protective equipment shortages in the United States, specifically nitrile gloves, during the pandemic. Once completed, the company is estimated to produce 3.6 billion medical and non-medical gloves annually for health care, government and industrial use.
With the $105 million investment, American Nitrile will finish construction of its 527,000 square-foot factory— a former warehouse at 3500 Southwest Blvd.—and obtain any necessary equipment. The company also raised an additional $35 million in equity from local investors, including Crawford Hoying, Block says.
“We’ll be the largest, most advanced nitrile glove manufacturer in the country,” he says. He also hopes to be the greenest, with a water reclamation and recycling process on-site to recycle around 150 million gallons of water annually, or 50% of the wastewater generated by the manufacturing process.
Throughout the pandemic, U.S. medical facilities and other users were subjected to severe shortages while trying to obtain personal protective equipment. Most gloves come from Malaysia and other producers based in the Asia-Pacific region, but aside from product shortages, there also have been halts to glove imports for suspicion of forced labor practices.
The shortage is what inspired Block, 29, an Ohio State University graduate and Bexley native, to start his company with a dedication to on-shore production. The company has the motto, “Bringing Manufacturing Back Home.”
“It’s critical for our country to have domestic capabilities for critical supply chain products, nitrile gloves being one of them,” Block says. “We’re the largest user by far in the world for nitrile gloves, yet we don’t produce even a percent of what we consume here.”
Nitrile gloves have a 54.6% market share of the medical glove market, according to a report by Research and Markets. The global market was valued at $5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $9.4 billion in 2027, according to Grand View Research.
Block says construction is expected to be completed soon and manufacturing will begin with six functioning production lines this summer. By the end of the year, he anticipates there will be about 250 to 280 employees. Currently, there are around 15.
An additional six production lines, for a total of 12, will be up and running next year, he says, at which point he plans to reach 400 total employees. American Nitrile will have the capacity to produce around 40,000 gloves per line per hour.
Block is brother to Brewdog USA CEO Jason Block, grandson to Block’s Bagels founder Harold Block and son to the late Steven Block, who died March 3 at age 64 and was also a leader at the renowned bagel restaurant.
Block says his dedication and hard work come from his father, and going forward, his work is dedicated to him.
“I know he’d be so proud of what we’re doing here,” he says. “For me, as his son, but for the city and the ability to bring manufacturing back in a big way. That’s going to impact a lot of people. I credit my work ethic to my dad.”