Across the country, as the nation responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, WBENC-Certified WBEs are helping in big ways and small, by innovating, scaling up to meet demand, partnering to expand capabilities, and donating to help communities and frontline workers in need.

Here are some stories from the field of women-owned businesses doing BIG things to help to meet the moment.

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Soft Stuff Distributors Pivots, Launching Online Grocery Store

For the last 30 years, Soft Soft Distributors has become one of the largest specialty food service companies in the country, serving the restaurant and hospitality industries.

“On March 16, 2020, life as we knew it in food and hospitality came to a screeching halt,” says CEO and President, Lois Gamerman. “When faced with the real possibility of shutting our doors, we decided failure was not an option!.”

In a matter of weeks, the company quickly pivoted to provide a new direct-to-consumer online grocery store — Shop Soft Stuff — featuring online ordering, same-day curbside pick-up, and competitive prices (in fact 10 to 30 percent cheaper than traditional grocery stores). They are also working to provide home delivery and staged truck deliveries at pick up points throughout Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia.

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ATR Supports Frontline Workers and Local Businesses

ATR, a global leader in procedure management solutions, is doing its part to support frontline health care workers and other businesses in the community.

The company provided 320 meals for frontline ICU and ER department teams at Willowbrook Methodist Hospital, delivering food from another local business, Juanito’s Mexican Restaurant. ATR is also supporting the First Responder Children’s Foundation in their efforts to support families enduring financial hardships due to coronavirus outbreak.

“As industry leaders, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to help those in need and the health care workers on the front lines across the world,” they said.

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Sandra Leppert & Associates, Inc. Collaborates with Other WBEs to Pivot, Meet Demands of COVID-19 Crisis

After more than 30 years in the retail design and fixture business, Sandra Leppert & Associates has quickly pivoted to meet the moment, partnering with other WBEs and existing suppliers to furnish new products, including protective shields for retail stores, disposable thermometers, hand sanitizers and other COVID-19 essentials.

“This opened up a whole new market that our company never had before,” says President Sandra Leppert. “We have thoroughly seen the value in collaboration with other women-owned businesses as we move into a new aspect of our business. This partnership through WBENC connections has enabled us to provide much needed supplies during this tumultuous time.”

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Alaris Teams Up with SWEB Development for #InThisTogether Fundraising Campaign

Alaris, a legal concierge provider, has teamed up with SWEB Development for the #InThisTogether campaign and movement.

On the In This Together website, you can select from a list of local communities to support with a purchase of a facemask, t-shirt, sticker or donation. All proceeds go towards helping local businesses as well as community members in need of assistance.

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Taste Catering Launches Hospitality Helps Initiative to Employ and Feed Families in Need

By March 15, Taste Catering found itself in a position where all of the events they had booked for the next three months simply disappeared.

“In response, we furloughed more than 50 Taste employees at the shop and, by virtue of the 100% event cancellations, 300 more employees are out of work with no other work prospects,” says co-founder Janet Griggs. “The same scenario is being repeated throughout the Bay Area, but more specifically in SF’s restaurant community. It became very clear that if our community does not get help immediately, we will have a whole new crush of homelessness and a local economy that potentially cannot recover.”

So Taste Catering launched a new program called Hospitality Helps, in partnership with Peninsula Food Runners and Meals on Wheels San Francisco. The program aims to use the resources of the hospitality industry to provide free, healthy meals to those who need them, providing nourishment and much-needed peace of mind during this difficult time.

Taste Catering produces the meals in their 19,000 sq. ft. kitchen and deliver through Food Runners as well as with our own delivery trucks. “We’ve raised $220,000 in 3 weeks, so that’s pretty good for a catering company that is normally on the other side of the fence—producing the annual fund raisers for our local charities,” says Griggs.

Watch a video of Taste Catering President Margaret Tesky and Account Executive Walker Allen delivering food to Zuckerberg Hospital and explaining how to support the Hospitality Helps initiative.

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WBEs Evergreen Labs (Manufacturer of Wine Away Stain Remover) and Walla Walla Environmental Launch New Hand Sanitizer Product

After receiving numerous calls from people desperately searching for hand sanitizer, Evergreen Labs and Walla Walla Environmental decided it was time to team up and help.

“Since both companies manufacture cleaning products, this fell inside the scope of what we currently do,” said Staci Wanichek, CEO of Evergreen Labs and Cassie Rothstrom, CEO of Walla Walla Environmental.

DEFENSE hand sanitizer is packaged in 2 oz. and 8 oz. spray bottles and contains the recommended 75% alcohol. It is also lemongrass for it’s antimicrobial and moisturizing properties.

Walla Walla Environmental is the leader in waste treatment chemistry and products for the DIY industry, and Evergreen Labs manufactures the famous Wine Away red wine stain remover.

“We are honored to be able to help during this uncertain time,” said Rothstrom.

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APEX 360 Partners with Manufacturers to Distribute Face Shields for Medical Professionals

APEX 360 is a printing and packaging company for consumer sales samples. The company has now partnered with paperboard manufacturers to work together to manufacture and distribute face shields for medical professionals and first responders.

Locally, in Northern Kentucky, APEX has distributed 13,000 single-use face shields and 500,000 or more are scheduled.

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Do you have a story we could feature about a WBENC-Certified WBE? Submit your information here.

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These are difficult and unique times for all businesses, but there are 16,000+ WBENC-Certified WBEs that are poised and ready to help. We encourage our Corporate & Government Members to login to WBENCLink2.0 to search for certified suppliers for their needs.


Look for the Women Owned Logo on product labels or visit for a directory of WBENC-Certified Women Owned products you can buy online. Find more ways to support women entrepreneurs while social distancing.

Visit our COVID-19 Resources Center for more ways WBEs are supporting one another, as well as resources to help our network address and respond to the impacts caused by COVID-19.

COVID-19 Resources