This Minnesota-based outdoor gear manufacturer plans to make protective equipment for medical personnel in wake of COVID-19

This Minnesota-based outdoor gear manufacturer plans to make protective equipment for medical personnel in wake of COVID-19

Helping in the ways we can—that is paramount as we respond to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has halted normal life and put a sudden halt to the current ski season in the United States and across the world. In Duluth, Minnesota, there’s one outdoor company that’s planning to give back in a direct way to the American population and the medical professionals treating COVID-19. Frost River, a leather-goods manufacturer specializing in hand-crafted, waxed canvas softgoods, plans to utilize its state-of-the-art sewing machines and skillful staff to craft medical supplies for first responders in hospitals and medical treatment centers across the country.

Frost River owner, Christian Benson, announced that his company will stop producing outdoor gear and start making personal protective equipment (PPE)—the essential garments for medical workers battling COVID-19—once given the go-ahead from the federal government. Before Frost River is able to begin production, a few things need to happen: First, the Defense Production Act needs be put into place, a law that will allow private companies to create additional medical supplies and other emergency supplies; second, Benson will need to the cooperation of major manufacturers, namely, 3M, which will provide materials and templates for production.

In a press release, Benson noted that Frost River has “computerized equipment, skilled sewing staff and production facilities to manufacture and ship thousands of items every day—but only if current manufacturers will share patterns and medical-grade materials for PPEs including masks, hoods, and gowns.”

Through the cooperation of lawmakers, big brands and local businesses, Benson hopes that he can have a direct impact on keeping medical professionals and our communities. “It’s not about politics; it’s about humanity,” he said over the phone, sounding hopeful that his company would be mass-producing medical supplies by the end of this week.

Helping out in the ways we can—that’ll be the backbone of our preventative and recovery efforts in these uncertain times. Thankfully, outdoor brand Frost River is willing to make individual, business-focused sacrifices, lead by example and, hopefully, take a role in contributing in a positive way to the prevention and recovery of this unusual, unsettling time.

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