3 Grant County businesses recognized for pandemic-prompted innovation

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Three Grant County companies are among the winners of a state contest that documents innovative ways that Wisconsin companies responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photonic Cleaning Technologies, of Platteville, was a “category winner” among businesses with six to 20 employees in the category of “technology innovation to address COVID-19 impacts on businesses.” The contest, created this fall by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., evaluated applicants based on their innovations in technology or in business operations and service.

“Before COVID-19 hit Wisconsin, Photonic Cleaning Technologies was a successful manufacturer of high-tech polymers for the photonics and aerospace industries, with sales in 75 companies,” states a summary shared by WEDC. “ … While polymers can be used to make lighter, stronger coatings for mix of industrial products, they can also be used as a thickening agent for alcohol-based hand sanitizer. A new line of business was born. At the request of state and federal agencies, Photonic Cleaning began making a line of gel-based, quick-drying sanitizers that also carried the extra property of making people’s hands feel softer. Now called the ‘Hands So Soft’ line, about 30,000 bottles have been shipped, jobs have been created and the possibility of a product line that lives beyond the COVID-19 pandemic has emerged.”

Other local winners were High Vibe Fitness, of Platteville, and Digital Wood, of Fennimore.

The three local businesses will share in $3 million to be disbursed in grants among 231 winners, according to a press release.