RANDOLPH, VT -- Vermont Glove has shifted its production to make masks for healthcare workers in the wake of the all-encompassing COVID-19 crisis.
“The need is high and we want to help,” said Sam Hooper, Vermont Glove owner. “ This was a decision we made a couple weeks ago, and we've been working hard to implement. Since then, many people have reached out to see if we could make masks. They were relieved to hear that we are already heading that way.”
The 100-year-old glove maker has received orders from local police departments, the Vermont State Police, and the Vermont Department of Corrections as well as private companies. The first mask orders ship this Friday, March 27.
“With our network of 15 home sewers, our 8 staff and our facility in Randolph, we can crank these things out pretty darn quick,” said Hooper.
To abide by social distancing recommendations, only two staff are in-factory at any given time operating on different floors. All the cutting and prep work is done at the factory, before materials are sent to home sewing studios. All Vermont Glove staff is remaining on payroll during this time. Vermont Glove is also facilitating work with an additional network of 15 at home sewers to keep up with the high demand.
“In addition to filling a major need, we see this as an opportunity to keep our team working and employed during this challenging time as well as a chance to provide supplemental income to our local network of sewers,” said Hooper. “This keeps them off the already overburdened unemployment system and helps our health care workers and first-responders stay safe and protected.”
Due to supply chain shortages, the masks produced are not medical grade as the materials meeting the sub-micron grade requirement of .3 (TK Unit) are currently unavailable to public markets. “We have deferred to CDC guidelines for masks - if supplies are exhausted, which it sounds like that is very imminent for a lot of hospitals, that tightly woven cotton is the best alternative,” said Hooper. “We want to make sure that we can help in any way we can within accordance with recommendations from the CDC.”
About Vermont Glove
This year, Vermont Glove is celebrating over 100 years in business. They have been hand stitching leather gloves out of the Whiting Milk Creamery since 1960 . Recently purchased by Sam Hooper, the company is committed to supporting local jobs with livable wages, and sustainability, converting the factory to carbon net zero. You can learn more at Vermontglove.com