Southwest Michigan company retools to make million face masks

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BANGOR, MI – Barber Packaging, a bespoke packaging company, is transforming to produce personal protective equipment as well.

The Bangor business has shifted from its usual business to help fill a need for local healthcare providers, producing plastic masks. Barber Packaging has partnered with a buyer under the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program to get products to where they’re needed, according to a press release from business development organization Market Van Buren.

Pure Michigan Business Connect’s Virtual Match Program builds on PMBC’s success in delivering supply chain sourcing solutions by supporting critical COVID-19 response efforts, as well as creating opportunities for Michigan small and medium businesses, ”Senior Program Specialist at Pure Michigan Business Connect said Nick Anderson. “We were delighted to work with our partners at Market Van Buren to provide a connection to Barber Packaging, and we thank the company for stepping up their efforts to retool and support recovery efforts in this time of need.”

In response to COVID-19, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program expanded its free online procurement platform in March to include donations from vendors able to meet health and wellness needs. social services in a wide range of product and service categories. The platform provides direct access to state-owned companies providing supplies, including personal protective equipment, food, medical devices, paper products, cleaning equipment, and more, according to the release. hurry.

One of the face shields produced by Barber Packaging. (Courtesy | Zach Morris)

“When this pandemic hit our country, we felt called to bridge the gap. We immediately started looking at several needs in the medical industry and realized that we could retool ourselves to make face shields, ”said Luke Barber, President of Barber Packaging and Vice Chairman of the Board of Market Van Buren. . “Now we are producing a necessary product. I would like to think that we are doing our part to serve our neighbors.

Barber Packaging plans to manufacture over a million face shields over the next month. The project started in mid-April.

“As soon as the pandemic hit our shores, Luke and his team wanted to be part of the solution,” said Market Van Buren executive director Zach Morris. “Barber’s strong leadership coupled with the ingenuity of the Pure Michigan Business Connect program gives healthcare workers the tools they need. “

Other businesses in Van Buren County are reorganizing to provide needed resources to the community. An example of this is St Julian Winery, Michigan’s largest winery, redeveloped their distillery to produce hand sanitizer. In addition, Do-It Corporation in South Haven has re-equipped to provide face shields.

Morris said Market Van Buren has helped local businesses complete applications for MEDC grants and loans, among several other resources. Additionally, he said they are working on plans to help businesses after emergency orders are completed.

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