Coronavirus halts production for local apparel company, sets inventory back by months

VERONA, Wis.– Wodbottom, a Verona based women’s athletic wear company, has gone months without new apparel after the coronavirus halted production with their manufacturing partner in China.

Co-Founder Emily Ruyle said the manufacturers didn’t return from the Chinese New Year holiday break in early February as scheduled, but rather at the end of the month. New designs aren’t expected to ship till April, which has forced Wodbottom to get creative with sales.

“Just trying to fill in the gaps until the end of April, when we get our new shorts in,” Ruyle said.

Wodbottom normally releases six to eight new designs each month. The company hasn’t had any new inventory since December, according to Ruyle.

“We understand that we rely on a partner that’s overseas, and so what happens over there affects us, too,” Ruyle said. “But who would have known that a virus would break out and be big enough to affect us. We couldn’t have planned for that.”

Ruyle said the setback affected the company financially, and loyal customers are reaching out to find out when new products will arrive.

“This first quarter is going to be slow, but we are resourceful. We’ll get through it just fine,” Ruyle said.

Although Wodbottom’s stock is on its way back, there’s still some fear that it might not stay that way.

“Common conversation is what if it gets worse?” Ruyle said. “We can just do what we can do here and hope for the best over there, and then also looking into those other countries to supply our shorts.”

Wodbottom is having their product tested with manufacturers in other countries, including Columbia. Ruyle said the most important factor is making sure their product meets expectations of quality.