Alsip furniture manufacturer retools business to make hospital masks, gowns

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ALSIP, Ill. — A furniture manufacturer in Alsip has retooled its business to produce hospital masks and gowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NorthCape started producing the much-needed supplies on Monday.

The owner said he was talking with some of his business partners a week and a half ago about how they may be able to help.

“Right now we’ve got product going to New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We have — possibly — a large order going to the Chicago area. It’s kind of expanding. There’s an order pending in Arizona. There is a need,” said NorthCape’s President Tom Murray.

Employees at NorthCape usually produces cushions for patio furniture so there was plenty of fabric on hand to make masks and gowns.

The designs came from nurses in New Jersey who were told to start wearing bandanas for protection as masks run low across the country.

After a few tweaks to the design, the company and its employees are able to turn out about 5,000 masks a day. These aren’t the heavy duty N95 masks, but they are helpful.

“Our products are not designed to be the most severe products. It’s meant to be the products that can handle probably 70% of nurse-type of need,” Murray said.

NorthCape is not able to donate the product, but they are selling them at wholesale prices for large orders.

Murray said in addition to doing what they can to help out nurses across the country, he’s also able to keep some of his staff on the payroll during the economic downturn.

Many are not only happy for the paycheck, but to help during the crisis.

“In our own certain way we are (helping). Everyone has got to do their own little part to help each other,” said employee Angel Castillo.

North Cape is also selling individual masks and small orders.

For more information on NorthCape click here.


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