Louisville Leather Shop Shifts Gears to Help with PPE Shortage
Clayton & Crume creating 500,000+ face shields to protect healthcare workers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 1, 2020) – A Louisville leather shop is using its knowledge of design, manufacturing and assembly to tackle a large-scale production effort to make a difference and join the fight against the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Clayton & Crume, known for its handcrafted leather designs like belts, bags, wallets and coasters, has temporarily shifted gears in its production facility. Though production of leather goods will still continue, the company has taken on the challenge to create a half million medical PPE (personal protective equipment) face shields for frontline medical workers both locally and across the country.
Like most retailers around the globe, the small, locally owned business had to close its doors recently and send 25 employees home in an effort to enforce social distancing. When owners and fraternity brothers – Clay Simpson and Tyler Jury – returned to a quiet, empty leather shop last week, void of its usual conversations and buzzing sewing machines, they decided it was time to get creative and make a difference.
“Our workspace sat silently, an engine of potential waiting to be put to use again. As our awareness of our medical community’s needs grew, and our resources at our shop continued to nudge us to respond, we turned to what we know how to do best: create,” co-owner Tyler Jury said. “We wanted to figure out a way to make a difference, even if a small one, while our workshop and retail store were shut down.”
Upon hearing about the critical shortage of PPE devices across the country, Jury, who is also a Louisville dentist, remembered the safety mask he used during dental school while extracting teeth and thought something like it could be useful to medical professionals now. The duo spent the entire day sourcing fabrics, padding, plastics, foam and other materials from around the city in an attempt to create something that could help protect healthcare workers serving on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis.
The end result was a prototype for a face shield that features a plastic cover, a thick foam forehead strip and an elastic strap. The piece is meant to protect doctors and nurses from infections by shielding their faces from sneezes and coughs from sick patients.
Simpson and Jury’s initial goal was to make 1,000 of them by the end of the week that they would deliver to Louisville hospitals and immediate care centers. Within 24 hours, they received a call from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s office, who had gotten wind of their designs and placed an order for a half million of the plastic face shields. Production begins this week in a special 20,000-square-foot facility in Louisville.
“We’re eager to put our skills to use in the fight against COVID-19 and to help play a small role in keeping the state we love safe,” co-owner Clay Simpson said. “Clayton & Crume began with a mission to make leather goods that last. While we anxiously wait for life to return to ‘normal,’ we are responding to the challenge that lies ahead with that same spirit and intention – to create by hand what is tested and lasting.”
For more info, visit ClaytonAndCrume.com.