Local firms create fun, protection during pandemic

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>FACEBOOK/SEW ALICIA</p><p>The McNeil mug created by &#0010;Alicia Boutilier.</p>
  • <p>FACEBOOK/SEW ALICIA</p><p>The Dr. Robert Strang mug created by Alicia Boutilier.</p>

Local businesses are taking on challenges presented by the pandemic with potential personal protective equipment solutions or championing the value of public health messages.

Lunenburg's ABCO Industries, a global leader in the manufacturing and supply of engineered metal products, announced on social media its capacity to create face shields.

Designers and fabricators at the Tannery Road facility created three types of masks. In under eight minutes, they were able to cut, clean, and assemble the individual units.

"They are easily cleanable as they come apart into [three] pieces; the shield, headband and elastic," the company said on Facebook. "We would love to do our part to support the brave front line healthcare workers that risk their lives every day to keep us safe."

ABCO indicated in comments on the post it's "ready to supplement any part of the healthcare system that needs them" and "they would be sold at cost or donated."

Jason Huskilson, of ABCO 3-H Holdings, said as of April 7 there wasn't an approved design nor any orders. Huskilson emphasized to LighthouseNOW the units are not being built for any financial or public relations gain. He declined further comment because he didn't want to "say the wrong thing before we have approvals or an order."

Shannon Mader, of D & S Upholstery in Oakhill, created marine grade and washable face shields. "I have been overwhelmed by the response for orders," he posted on social media.

Mader plans to donate units but also received numerous requests from the public wishing to buy the product. He said he's going to try and reduce costs in relation to bulk orders.

"It's just sitting under my table, so I might was well use it for something good," he's quoted telling a local radio station in reference to available product to build the shields.

In Pine Grove, Alicia Boutilier's home-based business, Sew Alicia, sells personalized and embroidered items. She found a hit with the creation of specialized mugs adorned with images of Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health.

Images posted online show Strang's mug with the words "the good doctor" and McNeil's mantra hashtag "#staytheblazeshome". McNeil's mug also has his famous catchphrase along with "#COVID19NS".

Boutilier hosted an online auction for two of the mugs with proceeds going to Feed Nova Scotia.

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