IT News Wire
The owners of FastSigns in Inglewood are supporting the men and women of the Inglewood Police Department during the COVID-19 pandemic by manufacturing and donating face shields and masks.
This spring, FastSigns owner Eric Baines went from making banners and placards in-house to resourcing thick plastic with which to create personal protective equipment (PPE). Baines purchased the material to create sturdy face shields after he saw police officers were using flimsy, poorly constructing shields. The locally made PPE was then branded with either the Inglewood Police Department logo or the City seal.
Face shields were also donated to Mayor James Butts and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, where physicians are administering COVID-19 tests for patients.
“We just had to shift on the fly,” Baines said. “We thought that it was really cool we were able to do that and the police appreciated it so much.”
Los Angeles County had more than 47,000 cases of COVID-19 as of May 25, according to the Department of Public Health. In Inglewood, there have been 553 cases and 53 deaths. L.A. County residents with symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, and new loss of taste or smell are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test. Asymptomatic individuals who are over the age of 65, live with a chronic medical condition, or are an essential worker are also encouraged to get tested.
FastSigns was able to produce the face shields while overcoming the challenges of obtaining the right material.
“It’s really hard to find that material now because so many people are buying that to make face shield, sneeze guards, all sorts of PPE,” Baines said. “When you find it, you try to buy as much as you can even if you don’t have an order for the material.”
Other FastSigns franchisees also took to making PPE, allowing store owners to share tips on best practices, Baines said.
“It was good that we were able to get that information from some of the other franchisees,” he said.
FastSigns also worked with the father of one of the shop’s employees to make branded face masks. Those masks are now being used by restaurants, FedEx employees and postal workers, and private companies.
“It’s been cool that we’ve been able to brand those face shields and make people happy with the personal touch,” Baines said. “We’re just trying to be flexible right now with all the craziness going on.”
FastSigns in Inglewood opened in 2018. Baines grew up in the area — his mother still lives in Inglewood — and knew he wanted to open a small local business after leaving DirecTV after more than 20 years in accounting. Part of the appeal of opening in Inglewood was the City’s growth, Baines said.
“So many things are coming to the City, and there are going to be huge things that are coming to the neighborhood,” he said.
The construction boom in Inglewood has meant a lot of business for FastSigns, which is able to provide logos, banners, exteriors signs, business cards and ADA compliance materials for construction sites and new businesses.
“We’re excited about all of the things that are coming to Inglewood and we try to donate our time when we can,” Baines said. “It’s been a great experience to be in Inglewood and see all of the things that are coming.”