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Sturgeon Bay business shifts gears to make masks and gowns in response to COVID-19

Local News

STURGEON BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — When the Safer at Home order went into effect last month, FLS Banners was allowed to remain open as an essential business, but the company felt as if they needed to do more than making signs.

“We didn’t feel like we were having an impact,” President Cain Goettelman explained.

And so the banner printing company adjusted: “We shifted gears and figured out how to make an isolation gown that was in great need and then we saw this coming with the CDC that they were going to put the recommendation out that everybody wear a mask in public,” Goettelman said.

They decided to make masks, but could see the potential hang-ups people might have.

“My staff was like: ‘I’m never going to wear a mask, I’m not gonna wear a mask,'” Goettelman said, “and then we said, ‘Well, what would get you to wear a mask?'”

Goettelman told Local 5 that the company decided to try to make the masks more appealing by making them customizable.

“We’re trying to come up with the designs that people are gonna want to wear,” he said, “make it almost like a fashion accessory, not a scarlet letter on your face.”

FLS Banners now has more than 60 designs available.

Designing PPE wasn’t an easy shift for the shop.

“To re-purpose equipment, re-calibrate it,” Goettelman said, “we had to figure out how to weld plastic, we had never done that before.”

He told Local 5 that the changes were worth it, as soon as the masks were in production.

“We’re a group of people that like to get together and make things every day,” he explained, “and we all get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a finished product. There is an additional level of satisfaction knowing that we are going to help some people that are really in need.”

Even before making the switch to PPE, FLS was already considered essential.

“This was really more a calling than a business decision,” Goettelman said.

He explained that the calling was to help flatten the curve: “We can’t rely on the doctors to help make us better or the hospitals to cure us, we all have to do our part.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW FLS BANNERS’ MASKS ONLINE.

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