Joann Stores and Neiman Marcus sew hope for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus
The news has been filled with daily reports of hospital workers who have no choice but to reuse personal protective equipment such as N95 face masks or make their own when caring for coronavirus patients. Medical professionals and government authorities have made public pleas to manufacturers for more masks, gowns and scrubs as the numbers of people suffering from COVID-19 grow larger day by day. Enter Joann Stores.
The arts and crafts retailer is stepping up to assist in meeting the need by recruiting customers to sew face masks and other essential protective items. The company is also partnering with Neiman Marcus to do the same.
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Last week we joined a coalition of domestic manufacturers who have come together to address the massive shortage of medical masks facing the country. Over the last seven days, we’ve worked to retool our North Carolina facilities and retrain our team of remarkable seamstresses. Effective today we are making HHS-certified medical masks and distributing them to the front line medical personnel that are confronting this crisis. Our initial target is 35,000 masks per week, and we expect to be climbing aggressively from there. We are deeply grateful to our NC team of seamstresses, supervisors, and managers who have stepped in to help–they are true heroes themselves. We ask for your patience and understanding as we stop production of American Giant products in support of this effort. You may experience some out of stocks in the coming weeks, but we trust that you will understand. Right now we need masks more than sweatshirts! As always, we are grateful to you, our incredible customers, who allow us to be in a position to help. P.S. Bayard (founder/CEO) will be hopping onto Instagram Live tomorrow morning a little after 8am PST (11am EST) to answer any questions you may have about all of this. Please join us! #ppeshortage #maskshortage #protectivemask #medicalpasks #coronamasks #covid19usa #covid_19 #americanmanufacturing
Earlier this week, Joann opened classrooms at its stores across the country for people who are volunteering to make face masks, gowns and other items to be donated to hospitals. The retailer is providing and donating 100 percent of the supplies for the project and is offering sewing machines and guidance. Joann emphasized that the physical space was being managed to adhere to social distancing guidelines, with associates on hand to sanitize work areas.
The retailer is working with hospitals and medical facilities to donate items being produced. It is also working with these facilities to help acquire materials, including fabric, elastic and clear vinyl.
“We are seeing hospital workers, organizations and individuals coming into our stores for supplies to make these essential items, and our customers are asking us how they can help,” Wade Miquelon, President & CEO of Joann, said in a statement. “So many are spending their time and money to help in this tragic situation, and we want to step in to do our part to protect the amazing people who are helping the communities we serve.”
In related news, Joann and Neiman Marcus Group are teaming up to make free masks, gowns and scrubs for medical personnel. The crafts retailer is sending material to the luxury department store operator’s alterations facilities for production.
Materials being used will adhere to guidelines established by the Providence Hospital System in Washington. Requirements for protection levels have been lowered in the face of the national shortage. These materials will be used after supplies of those complying with requirements set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have run out.
The first shipment will go out this week. The retailers are covering the costs.
- JOANN Mobilizes Crafters Across the Nation to Help Protect Health Care Workers – JOANN Stores
- Neiman Marcus Group and JOANN Partner to Make Protective Non-Surgical Masks, Gowns, and Scrubs Free for Medical Personnel – Addison Magazine
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is it more important now than usual for retailers such as Joann Stores and Neiman Marcus to engage in acts of civic responsibility? Do you see other ways that retailers are contributing or can contribute in this time to establish their places as good citizens in the eyes of the American public?