Many schools are reopening in the fall with new guidelines in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Chief among them is mandatory face masks.
For some auto upholstery shops, the national shortage and high demand for face masks spells a much-welcomed business opportunity, especially after months of economic decline.
American Upholstery in Phoenix, Arizona, is one of those shops. They pivoted from auto and marine upholstery to making face masks full time for local schools.
Mike Reimanis, one of the shop’s two managers, told AZ Family that he researched optimal designs to fit kids’ faces and settled on two: a six-inch square mask with ear loops and a tapered mask with elastic that goes around a child’s whole head. The masks, which are available in black or white, are made from polypropylene, which can be hand washed.
Now, all eight of the shop’s employees spend their days cutting, sewing, assembling and packaging the masks. They sell a package of two masks for $11.
Nathaniel Allen, another manager of the shop, said several Valley school districts have inquired about the kid-size masks. In fact, Riverside School District recently placed an order for 10,000 masks.
Do the math: 10,000 masks for $5.50 each is $55,000.
Pretty good, right? A few more school districts and it won’t feel like an economic downturn after all.
Other upholstery shops interested in getting in on the action should check out Miami Corporation’s “Covid-19 PPE Materials Guide,” which outlines all the materials you’ll need, as well as correct sizing information and links to templates.