Tallahassee printing company changing course to make medical protective gear

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 4:23 PM EDT
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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

April 13, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- A major industrial printing company in the state’s capital city is finding a new purpose as health workers across the country struggle to find personal protective equipment.

Altrua Global Solutions makes signage for large companies like McDonalds, but after the coronavirus struck their signs shifted from promotional, to reminding people businesses were still open.

“For us, I felt like we were helping save some jobs out there,” said owner Melode Smelko.

Melode and her husband, Skip, soon discovered another way they could help.

“We also saw a couple YouTube videos of folks making masks and I said, that's our machinery right there, the face shields that's our machinery. We can do this,” said Melode.

Within 48 hours, they had a prototype face shield.

A few days later, they’re now able to produce 1,000 a day.

They’ll soon have the capacity to produce a total of 12,000 face shields to be shipped across the country.

“And it was to help our team too. It's like everybody else. Everybody's kind of wondering what's going to happen in their jobs and everything and this was just another way for us to be able to give back to our team saying, hey you're here and we're in good shape,” said Skip.

They’ve also imported 10,000 face masks to distribute.

Within the next few days they expect to produce thousands of face masks in shop, offsetting some reliance on foreign suppliers.

“There's a lot of manufacturing in this country and obviously we can all switch over to do what we need to do,” said Melode.

And Altrua is still producing signs, giving out free ‘We’re Open’ signs to local restaurants and putting up signs across the community thanking first responders.

“Printing signs is easy for us and that's something we can give back to make people feel good around our community,” said Melode.

While the face shields will be going to health workers, the face masks Altrua produces will be going to restaurants and other essential businesses to protect their employees.