Kentucky companies see more demand for masks, face shields

Local News

WESTERN KENTUCKY (WEHT) – As more places require masks in public, and more businesses reopen, some Kentucky companies who started making masks this past Spring are seeing more demand.

Along with the products Greenwell Chisholm in Owensboro, and WPT Nonwovens in Ohio County already make, they find themselves making more masks and face shields.

“The demand, when we decided to take on this endeavor, was really just a gut feeling that our community was in need of these products,” said Travis Robbins, V.P. and General Manager of WPT.

“It’s not a difficult thing. It’s pretty unusual when you’ve been in printing for 40 years and you find yourself making a face mask,” adds Carmel Carlisle, who works at Greenwell Chisholm and has helped make face shields with other co-workers in her spare time.

Brian Greenwell, Vice President, of Greenwell Chisholm, says they’ve sold 6,000 face shields they made since the spring and donated about a thousand more. Most sales are from Kentucky, but they’re now getting orders from some hard hit states.

“Someone from California found our website and ordered some of these a few weeks ago. That was our first out-of-state order,” he recalled. The effort took a deeper meaning for him two months ago.

“My mother-in-law, two months ago, passed away from COVID. She was in a nursing home in Minnesota, and in her memory we donated several hundred to the nursing home to help with that,” he said.

Robbins says they’re making a half million 3-ply looped masks a week, but will add more production lines and workers, to expand production to as many as 2.5 million masks a week.

“What we’re hearing from some of the very large food service providers is that this is going to be the new standard of hygiene. Similar to what the hair net was looked at 15-20 years ago, moving forward, if you work in a quick service restaurant, and you’re on line, you’ll wear a mask,” he said.

Greenwell also says they have enough material to make another 10,000 face shields, but can order more supplies to make more if needed.

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(This story was originally published on July 8, 2020) 

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