Businessman Abdul Salam and his wife Naheed at a trade show.
Abdul Salam / Courtesy
A body bag costs between $ 5 and $ 42.50 at Salam International, a company that has gained prominence in Southern California over the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It doesn’t sound like much, but when the sales of the so-called “body bags” multiply as much as in these catastrophic times of the coronavirus, then it is a super successful and important business.
The founder and owner of the Laguna Hills-based company, Abdul Salam, has been unable to cope, but the Pakistani man is not in for a celebration of his business success after 29 years in the industry. Its approach is to meet the high demand for its products and wait for the dire situation, especially in the United States, to improve.
“There is loss of life and nobody likes that. I don’t like it, I’m sure nobody likes it, ”Salam says in a telephone interview. “From that perspective it is not a good thing. It is an unfortunate situation “.
Body bags: from 9-11 to coronavirus
Salam, 67, started his business in 1992 in Orange County when someone told him there was a good market for autopsy saws. Little by little, he increased his inventory, grew his company, signed some contracts and then the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred.
The 9-11 brought Salam International an unprecedented business due to a contract it achieved with the city of New York, with such demand that the company expanded to New Jersey to be able to supply each day.
“The first reaction was that there was a greater threat of loss of life. Although many people died, fortunately there were not as many as they expected ”, says Salam, who says that 9-11 was the worst misfortune reflected in business for him. The pandemic has been the longest.
“This seems like it’s never going to end”he comments with concern.
Salam doesn’t know if his company is the largest of its kind in California, but says they can produce whatever is asked of them. In a previous interview with the Los Angeles Times, he revealed that he has an inventory of 15,000 body bags and that they are working on another 150,000. The business will sadly continue to be very large in 2021.
“In 2020 our shelves emptied faster than ever. At one point we had nothing else to sell, “adds the businessman, a man who above all has enormous respect for people who are forced to use his merchandise, including minority customers who come to his business to buy a single bag. Salam offers them in 16 different models.
Salam advises people to heed orders
In addition to bags, Salam International sells everything related to mortuary services. The digital catalog is 337 pages long. Corpse storage boxes (storage) have been the second highest demand product in the pandemic And he says there is a shortage in Los Angeles County, where it is estimated that an average person dies from COVID-19 every 8 minutes.
Faced with the alarming panorama that exists in the country and specifically in southern California, Mr. Salam has this message for the people: “Heed the orders … I don’t want someone infected to approach me and pass the virus to me”.
And it is that he, who travels a lot, says that for example in Thailand – where they manufacture part of their merchandise – the other day only 67 people were reported dead, but that in the United States is where more people are not following the measures.
“Here many do not listen, or most do not listen. I know that in my office we practice measurements. We don’t meet closely with anyone. We have to do it, we have to take care of ourselves “.
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