PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A family-run business of varsity jacket manufacturing was hit hard by the cancellation of spring sports at local schools from Oregon stay-at-home orders.
Now, Settlemier’s Jackets in Northeast Portland has turned to making masks amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re just sewing them to anyone we can — all over the country, towns I’ve never heard of. Probably covering 30 states so far,” Settlemier’s Jackets Manager Aaron Settlemier told KOIN 6 News.
The masks are not medical grade, but made out of cotton for the general public. Though sales are outside of the business’s normal reach of clients, the mask production is not turning much of a profit. Basic masks are at $5 each and they also sell a triple layer cotton mask with a pocket for $15.
Luckily the business received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the federal government which they are using to continue keeping their staff employed.
“There’s no volunteers sewing, it’s all our employees. They at first volunteered to do it themselves at home,” Settlemier said.
A lot has changed for the business, which now dedicates about 80 percent of its operation to making masks, some of which they’ve also donated to various organizations when they have a surplus.
They’ve also switched from in-person sales to online only.
Settlemier is a third generation jacket maker in his family and his mother, Gloria Settlemier, started Settlemier’s Jackets back in 1990.
They’re holding on — for now.
“We’re going to do it as long as we can. But there’s still a lot of unanswered questions. We’re just not sure what’s going to happen in the months to come.”
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