Face Mask

A worker at Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery in New Albany sews a protective face mask to assist with the coronavirus response effort.

A New Albany furniture manufacturer is doing its part to help fight the coronavirus pandemic by making protective face masks.

Workers at Kevin Charles Fine Upholstery have already made more than 6,000 masks, said Rusty Berryhill, the company’s president.

About 5,000 of the masks have gone to the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Fla.

Kevin Charles workers have also made masks for a local clinic in New Albany, a nurse in New Jersey and nursing home corporations in Mississippi.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Kevin Charles, which has seen its sales drop as furniture storefronts have closed. Kevin Charles manufactures furniture for City Furniture, which has stores in Florida.

Kevin Charles has had to furlough about 85 percent of its workforce in the wake of the coronavirus.

But Berryhill, who is the chairman of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, expects the company will rebound once the crisis is over and that employees will return as soon as it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, Kevin Charles is doing what it can to help out during the coronavirus by making the masks. That has required the company to convert and retool its operations, and now the remaining workers are totally devoted to making masks.

“We are sending those things out as fast as we can make them,” said Berryhill.

Kevin Charles will continue to make the masks for as long as it can get the raw materials, he added.

The company is moving “full-speed ahead” and protecting its employees and customers, Berryhill noted.

These are challenging times and uncharted waters, but Berryhill thinks the economy will come back stronger than ever. In fact, he thinks there will be more of an emphasis on buying American-made products, which Kevin Charles offers.

He also feels as though the $2 trillion stimulus package will help the situation.

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