Duluth business working toward mass-producing masks

Brandon Weathers
Created: March 23, 2020 05:37 PM

With medical protective supplies in high demand, a Duluth manufacturer is working to halt production of its own products in order to instead make items that hospitals are in desperate need of.


"If we can be making something that makes a difference in association with getting protection for our healthcare professionals, that's what we want to do," said Frost River owner Christian Benson.

Benson's wife is a physician at a Duluth hospital. She shares the concerns of healthcare professionals across the country about the shortage of surgical masks.

Benson wants Frost River to halt production on the bags they're known for and dedicate their industrial sewing operation to help supplement the shortage.

"What's really cool about what we can bring to the table is that we know how to run sewing machines, we know how to run them efficiently. We have a table in our basement that's an automatic fabric cutter. It's a giant robot that cuts fabric, it'll cut it 24/7," Benson said.

They wouldn't be equipped to make the N-95's, but Benson said they could produce quality masks and other essentials such as hoods and gowns.

"The goal would be to be as efficient as possible, pick out whatever item it is, and get going on it and get us sewing on it. And if we cut more than we can sew, we're going to be looking for other industrial sewers in town here to be able to network together, and the Northland can really make a difference," Benson said.

Frost River can't start working on this yet. Benson said they need lawmakers' help to get materials and begin production. He said, "We are here, we just need the right things to come together to get us connected and we will make people proud."

Governor Walz acknowledged Frost River's efforts in a press conference Monday. He said the State Emergency Operations Center is working on getting them the green light to begin production.


Brandon Weathers

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