Lancaster County warehouse joins Zika fight

A warehouse in Lancaster County is playing a role in the fight to protect people from the Zika virus.

A Lancaster warehouse owned by Natural Partners, an Arizona-based distributor of health and wellness products, is shipping a brand of mosquito repellent to retail stores all over the world.

The repellent is produced by Bucks County-based repellent maker Greenerways LLC, which leases a portion of the Natural Partners warehouse.

Demand for Greenerways products has risen as people try to combat the Zika virus, an illness spread primarily through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

Greenerways’ sales doubled in 2015, and they are projected to triple in 2016, according to a news release.

Although Natural Partners has about 10,000 product numbers of its own, Greenerways has more volume, according to Joe Hildreth, manager of the Natural Partners warehouse.

“We usually ship out three or four orders a day of Greenerways,” Hildreth said.

The warehouse, in the Greenfield Industrial Park in East Lampeter Township, is the only East Coast facility operated by Natural Partners. It opened in August 2015 and employs 10 people.

The building was bigger than what Natural Partners needed, so it partnered with Greenerways to utilize the space, according to Hildreth, who described the repellent manufacturer as “right up our alley,” because it is also organic.

“It keeps us busy,” Hildreth said.

Greenerways going global

Greenerways is sold at retail chains such as Texas-based Whole Foods Market and Costco Japan and Taiwan.

Some Giant grocery stores also carry Greenerways, as do many distribution companies. CVS has placed an order for three of its regions in the U.S.

A four-ounce bottle of repellent sells for about $8.99.

Greenerways was founded by a mother-to-be in 2009. After her New Jersey home was flooded during a hurricane, Jayme Bella developed a mixture of essential oils to ward off mosquitoes. She wanted to avoid using the chemical-based products she found on store shelves.

Her husband owns an essential-oil company, which gave her background knowledge of oils.

The repellent, made from citronella, lemon grass and cedar oil, was originally bottled in Bella’s living room, and shared with family and friends, Bella said.

Today the company is owned by Bella’s mother, Sharon Neiburg. Bella is the CEO.

The product is bottled at a certified organic bottler in Los Angeles and then shipped in bulk to Lancaster for storage, packaging and delivery.

Greenerways employs about four temp from a Berks County-based agency, Gage Personnel, to package the products.

Gage Personnel also has offices in Lancaster and Lebanon counties.

Natural Partners handles ordering for Greenerways.

Zika virus update

There are still no reported mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases in the U.S., but there have been travel-associated cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus started in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, but since 2015 it has been spreading to many territories around the world.

With warmer weather finally hitting the northeast, the Pennsylvania Department of Health recently released its Zika virus response plan  in the event a mosquito-born virus is diagnosed here.

The plan includes better awareness and communication between the department and relevant government entities, which will work together to alert health care providers and the public about Zika, as well as post travel notices and guidance.

Read the article on Central Penn Business Journal