MONROE, N.C. — As the coronavirus has taken over the aspect of daily life, businesses large and small are finding new ways to help fight Covid-19.
That includes companies right here in the Charlotte-area. A firm known for its car interior nameplates is now forging new paths in face shield protection.
"It seems like things are changing by the hour these days not even by the days by the hours," Chris Doyle, owner of GM Nameplate, said.
Doyle has to figure out how to turn an automotive nameplate factory into a production hub of medically protective face shields.
Normally, this small plan in Monroe manufactures nameplates and trim for your car. But business has been down.
"When we had the downturn, when the automotive big three shutting down we had to figure out what we were gonna do," Doyle said. "And we didn't wanna let the employees go, and the face shields were something we knew were in high demand."
Using a design from their home office in Seattle, the 82-employees of GM Nameplate are taking materials they're used to construct a product they never considered.
"We're a custom manufacturer already so that we have to be able to change quickly from one job to the next," Doyle said. "That's kind of the name of our game being a custom manufacturer we gotta be able to be nimble."
GM Nameplate is working with medical supply distributors who funnel the face shields to hospitals in need. So far, they have orders for 180,000 shields, which is a number that's only expected to grow.
It's the new normal, and no one knows how long it will ask.
"Part of me wants it to end quickly so that we can get back to our normal lives,
Doyle said. "But we're gonna continue manufacturing these as long as we can and as long as there's a demand for it."
By the end of the week, Doyle hopes to have his plant producing 2,000 medical face shields a day. A daily tally he hopes to double in the coming weeks.