Frost River making personal protective equipment for Northland hospitals

Updated: April 02, 2020 06:55 PM

Duluth's Frost River is shifting gears in times of crisis to help medical professionals by making high demand personal protective equipment.

As an owner of an industrial sewing operation, Frost River owner Christian Benson is taking steps to help medical professionals who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frost River is working with St. Luke's and Essentia in Duluth to make face shields, body suits and PAPR hoods, which are in high demand, to protect Northland healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients.

Frost River invested in a automated cutting machine that cuts 200 pieces of plastic within 10 minutes to make the face shields. The crew is wearing masks and gloves to make the protective gear. 

The hospitals have been helping with supplying them with the material they need to make this equipment. They have been making this equipment with hospital table covers since it's durable material.

Benson says they have the skilled sewing staff and machinery to make the protective equipment. His team is working nonstop to get this much needed equipment to the hopsitals as soon as possible.

"We are just full speed ahead, converting our production operation over to be able to provide supplies and protective equipment here in the Northland for healthcare professionals that really do need to have that personal protective equipment," said Benson.

They plan on making 90,000 face shields for the hospitals and just started production of the equipment Thursday.

This is an effort that hits close to home to Benson. His wife works at St. Luke's as a physician. He said they moved to Duluth for her job and from there, started his business. He was determined to find a way to make a difference with the equipment he has in his business.

Benson said starting Friday, they'll be providing face shields to St. Luke's and to Essentia by next week.

Benson wants to help hospitals beyond the Northland. He has been on contact with the FDA and state leaders to find ways to offer this important equipment across the country.

Benson's team has also been working on providing Frost River merchandise online so that things they usually sell in the store, like food, doesn't go to waste. The website is

They're also doing auctions on the website.

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