CABVI partners with only domestic manufacturer of protective gloves

July 20, 2020

A visually impaired glove packager talking to general manager, Ron Baron, on the glove line.

Made in America is the order of the day as the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI), and SHOWA, today announced an innovative partnership to manufacture and distribute domestically produced nitrile gloves to address the national shortage of personal protective equipment.

SHOWA is currently the only U.S. manufacturer of the Nitrile, single-use PPE gloves that front-line industrial, service, transportation, healthcare and government workers rely on. In late 2019, SHOWA invested significantly in its Fayette, Alabama glove manufacturing facility, and now has the production capacity to meet a five year Nitrile glove supply need – today.

“Meeting current and future demand for PPE gloves that are made in America is a matter of National Security, and our strategic partnership with CABVI reaffirms our mission to support organizations whose front-line workers are the first and last line of defense against the coronavirus pandemic,” said Richard Heppell, COO Americas, Oceania & EMEA, SHOWA. “At the same time, our strategic facility expansion last year means that we have available capacity for Federal, state and local government agencies seeking a domestic source for high-quality, proven Nitrile gloves.”

CABVI will package and distribute the gloves it buys from SHOWA, from its facilities in Utica, and Syracuse N.Y.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a challenge for all consumers, from healthcare facilities to first responders, to source quality gloves. Nearly all nitrile glove manufacturing occurs in the Asia Pacific (APAC) rim, a region of the globe particularly hard hit during the early stages of the pandemic.

As a result, factories in Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Thailand, saw delivery times jump from about 90 days to more than 180 days. As entire APAC regions quarantined, Nitrile glove production capacity cratered while demand skyrocketed.

Nitrile gloves are made out of a synthetic rubber, and are an ideal alternative when latex allergies are of concern.  Nitrile gloves are the superior glove when it comes to puncture resistance.  Nitrile gloves are often referred to as “medical grade.”  Before gloves can be marketed to hospitals and medical institutions, they must undergo a series of tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure their durability.

CABVI is a social enterprise that has both societal and business goals. CABVI provides vision rehabilitation services to nearly 2000 individuals with vision loss in an eight county region of Central New York, while employing over 120 people who are legally blind or visually impaired.

This all American workforce manufactures or packages millions of dollars of products required by New York State and the Federal governments annually according to CABVI President & CEO Edward P. Welsh “While many are chasing glove supplies around the globe, wondering how to meet today’s explosive needs, Showa and CABVI are focused on the future. Beginning in April 2021, we will offer up to a five year product agreement for select customers that want to lock in a guaranteed supply of the highest quality nitrile gloves on the planet, made in America.

“Nearly half of our workforce of 280 employees is legally blind or visually impaired, a historically underserved segment of the workforce that has been particularly hard-hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19. Through this partnership with SHOWA, and our government contracts via the AbilityOne® Program, we can serve the dual purpose of supporting our customers’ efforts to protect the health of front-line workers and citizens, while ensuring we can retain and produce jobs for the communities we serve, by packaging and distributing the SHOWA gloves we sell.

“This partnership demonstrates CABVI’s confidence in Showa, and rest assured, we will do everything in our power to help them continue expanding their services as well. Together we can do great things for the citizens of the United States.”

Key facts about SHOWA’s Alabama manufacturing facility:

  1. Capacity to manufacture 4 million pcs per week of PPE gloves – today. Investments in additional production lines and innovation enables SHOWA to meet the 5-year PPE glove supply, producing an additional 16 million pieces per week
  2. Industry’s first biodegradable nitrile gloves. SHOWA’s revolutionary Eco Best Technology® (EBT) makes a difference to the environment and has proven even more critical during the pandemic as 150 billion pairs of gloves are produced every year, while an estimated 100 billion pairs of gloves are thrown away each year.
  3. Creating jobs for Alabama. SHOWA currently employs more than 400 workers in the U.S., with plans to expand the workforce significantly in the coming months.

Key facts about CABVI’s manufacturing, and distribution capabilities:

  1. 507 Kent Street | Admin offices, and Production 72,648 sq. ft.
  2. Kenneth C. Thayer Production Facility, 2145 Bleecker St. | Warehouse/Production 45,098 sq. ft.
  3. 2270 Dwyer Ave. | Warehouse and Distribution Center 87,000 sq. ft.
  4. CABVI Syracuse Industries: Syracuse, NY 66,000 sq. ft.

Sample of customers

  1. Transportation Security Administration of the Dept. of Homeland Security
  2. NYC Health and Hospitals Corp./NYC Hospitals
  3. SUNY Medical Centers
  4. VA Medical Centers
  5. Federal Correctional Institutions
  6. United States Postal Service

To learn more about how SHOWA can meet your COVID-19 PPE glove requirements with gloves that are manufactured and distributed in the U.S., visit the SHOWA Made in America product page.


Founded in 1954, SHOWA is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of medical, cut resistant, general purpose, chemical resistant in-hand protection. With nine production facilities, and over 6000 employees strategically located around the globe, SHOWA’s mission is to become the leader in personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically hand protection, by implementing a customer focused strategy based on commercialisation of highly innovative products. SHOWA has full control of the design and manufacturing of its protective gloves, continuously innovating to provide each wearer with a product that exceeds expectations. Showa means “finding a balance between different elements” in Japanese. From the very start, this principle is the red line that runs throughout our heritage and defines us today. We are a company committed to creating harmony between our surroundings and ourselves, leading responsibly, and pioneering sustainable solutions that protect our people and our planet. (www.showagroup.com)


The Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) is a social enterprise established in 1929 by community leaders in Utica, N.Y., who recognized a need to provide services and employment to people who are blind or visually impaired.

CABVI serves more than 1,800 people of all ages, generally free of charge, who are blind or visually impaired, in an eight-county region of Central New York. CABVI provides employment opportunities and a variety of vision rehabilitation services including low vision examinations, vision rehabilitation therapy, orientation and mobility, instruction in the use of assistive technology applications, employment training, adaptive recreation and sports, and social work. For further details, please visit www.cabvi.org/video.