Raj Prakash was in Miami for the launch party of a friend’s reality show in March when the start Covid-19 pandemic fueled his decision to not to return to New Jersey.
Not only has he stayed in town, his company has created 87 jobs in the region this year.
“I was supposed to leave Monday morning after a Sunday launch party and my wife prevented me from going back home,” Prakash said. “I ended up not leaving and I’ve been here ever since.”
Anthem United States of Beauty has more growth plans for 2021 with another 120 jobs expected to be added in Doral in the second quarter. The business is expanding its manufacturing lines of disinfectant wipes, which have been in short supply during the pandemic.
Prakash formed Anthem in New York in 2015 after taking over the assets of a wipes manufacturing business. Two years later, he expanded it into cosmetics and skin care products.
Anthem’s entry into South Florida came largely by chance. Prakash and his family were in Miami on vacation in August 2018, playing tennis on a Saturday morning, when he got a call about a wipes manufacturing plant in Doral that needed new capital. Still in his tennis clothes, Prakash met with the owners of the plant and eventually formed a joint venture partnership with them.
In March 2020, Prakash decided to wait out the Covid-19 pandemic in Miami and saw a great opportunity for his Doral facility to expand. As store shelves became bare of many cleaning products, Anthem obtained EPA approval to manufacture disinfectant wipes in Doral. That led to the creation of 87 jobs.
The company purchased three more production lines for disinfectant wipes. When they go online in the second quarter of 2021, it will hire another 120 people to run them.
“Anthem has plans to expand its Doral facility from 52,000 square feet to 120,000 square feet through new leases,” Prakash said.
With disinfectant wipes and many paper products again in short supply as cases of Covid-19 increases throughout the United States, and the threat of another potential shutdown looms, Anthem’s manufacturing ramp up is coming at a great time.
The company makes its products for third-party brands, and soon a local brand will be added to the mix.
Raj Datwani, a long-time friend of Prakash, formed Sanibelle in Miami with a line of hand sanitizer and biodegradable sanitizing wipes. He signed a partnership with Anthem to manufacture them in Doral.
Right now, Sanibelle’s products are only for sale online, however, he’s aiming to place the products with major retailers.
“We have the advantage of being fully made in the USA,” Datwani said. “We have to get back to living a normal life and be armed with the products to do so.”