Kerma Medical cuts ribbon

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kerma: Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson, center, is flanked by Joe and Danielle Reubel, owners of Kerma Medical Products, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the company’s new warehouse and manufacturing facility in Suffolk on Thursday.

One of the largest medical supply manufacturers in the country now is located in Suffolk.

Kerma Medical Products Inc. officially opened its new 100,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center on Suburban Drive with a ribbon-cutting on Thursday.

“We look forward to a successful business relationship in the city of Suffolk,” said Joe Reubel, the president and chief executive officer of Kerma Medical.

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The company was formed in 1991 and has grown quickly. It now manufactures, packages, assembles and supplies around 30,000 different products to the government and health care industry.

The company was founded when the federal government was seeking a specific type of burn dressing pad. Earl Reubel, Joe’s father, learned how to make the product and started manufacturing it himself.

“I’m really beaming inside,” Earl Reubel said at the event Thursday.

The 93 employees team up to produce and distribute such items as fetal monitor belts, disposable washcloths and ice packs.

“We’re the baby bonnet manufacturer of the U.S.,” Joe Reubel said. The company commands about 40 percent of the market for the tiny pink, blue and white bonnets placed on newborns at hospitals all over the country.

But the company also does major business in such things as elastic bandages, stethoscopes, digital thermometers, crutches, canes and wheelchairs.

Kerma, which gets its name from a combination of parts of family members’ names, went in search of a new home when it realized it had outgrown its facility in Portsmouth. Company officials were drawn to Suffolk by the work of the economic development department, Reubel said.

“The city showed their interest in us moving into this facility,” he said, adding they also liked the versatility of the location. “It was a blank canvas, and we were able to build out.”

Reubel added his thanks to Mayor Linda T. Johnson, who attended Thursday’s ribbon-cutting.

“Because of her presence here at the ceremony today, it even further indicates to us the seriousness of the city of Suffolk to take care of the businesses in their city,” he said.