Greensboro-High Point is known for being one of the most advanced manufacturing clusters in the Southeast U.S. Home to dozens of textile manufacturers, Guilford County companies have been quick to pivot operations to provide critical personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Greensboro, global apparel leader Kontoor Brands shifted its manufacturing operations to produce nearly 60,000 patient and disposable isolation gowns for North Carolina hospitals. The Wrangler and Lee parent company also donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Carolina to support those affected by school closures and work disruptions.
“In times like these, it’s important that we all rise to the occasion and redirect our efforts to help solve critical issues that have resulted from the spread of COVID-19,” said Scott Baxter, President and CEO of Kontoor Brands. “We are proud to support efforts to fight COVID-19 and will continue to look for ways to help our communities and the people most affected by this crisis.”
Similarly, global mattress fabrics marketer Culp Inc., headquartered in High Point, joined PPE production efforts by manufacturing face masks and bed covers for hospitals. Culp Inc. CEO Iv Culp says, “This initiative was not about profit, but rather to support our community and nation during this crisis while also keeping as many workers as possible employed.” The company has donated masks locally, including 1,000 to the United Way of Greater High Point, and continues to provide its products and materials for essential businesses.
“This has helped us to retain workers and maintain our facilities,” said Eastern Accents President Ridvan Tatargil. The company, which has been producing up to 1,000 masks per day, has also made the masks available for purchase in response to demand, with a portion of the proceeds going toward donations. Tatargil touches more on Eastern Accents’ efforts amid Covid-19 in an interview with Authority Magazine, “Ridvan Tatargil of Eastern Accents: “How We Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy”.”
In response to the demand for face masks, century-old textile mill Harriss & Covington Hosiery of High Point partnered with health consulting company EHOP Health of Apex to create Easy Masks. Easy Masks is a new fabric mask company built to help keep manufacturers working while providing COVID-19 protection for essential workers and the general public. With a dedicated team of 15 workers, the company is currently producing 40,000 masks per week.
Through these efforts, textile companies across Guilford County have proven to be resilient and innovative in their response to COVID-19. Read more about Guilford County’s textile companies’ PPE production during COVID-19 in Industry Today’s article “Textile History Empowers PPE Pivots in Guilford County.”