In the wake of COVID-19, many businesses are figuring out how to survive...and many are figuring out ways to help.
Today, the Saginaw Police Department and City of Saginaw Fire Department each received 50 face shields manufactured right here in Saginaw by Erie Custom Signs.
"We were thinking about what we could do to help during the pandemic," says Mike Shabluk, owner. "We started doing some research and saw other companies in Michigan were making face shields - and we had the equipment and the people to do that. We looked at different designs and sourcing materials, best practices, and made a couple prototypes that we gave to a few nurses to take a try out."
After receiving the nurses' approval, Erie Custom Signs went to work.
"We started making as many as we can produce - about 3000 a week," Shabluk says. "If you go back to World War II, many businesses didn't just stop working - they kept working, but to help the war effort."
While many of the face shields Erie Custom Signs is producing are going to hospitals and healthcare workers, he wanted to make sure first responders such as police officers and firefighters have a supply of face shields as well.
After using one of the face masks donated by Eerie Custom Signs, Police Chief Robert Ruth gave his stamp of approval.
"The Erie face shield is much better quality than what some of the considerably larger companies are manufacturing," Ruth says. "These have an adjustable band, whereas we've used some that only have a stapled rubber band to the shield which broke after the first use. This is a better quality product, and it's manufactured here in Saginaw."
Like many of the small businesses across the United State and the rest of the world, Erie Custom Signs is being negatively by the current pandemic. But Shabluk says that he didn't want that to stand in the way of doing something to protect the people who protect us.
"We want to help," he says. "Making these face shields - this is our opportunity to help."