LOGAN – A business hit hard by the pandemic is now making a major change as it tries to stay afloat.
Quilt EZ shifted from selling quilting machines to making thousands of face masks every day after investing around $100,000 in a new machine.
Company managers said it's clear there is still a big need for disposable face masks across Utah, and that need will continue.
That new machine makes a distinctive noise as it fuses and boxes about 50 to 80 face masks a minute.
"We've got it tuned in now, pretty comfortably running about 800,000 a month on one shift," said Jon Hawkes, LifeSmart CEO.
The machine arrived several weeks ago. Hawkes said it came just in time to help his struggling company, Quilt EZ, that was selling quilting machines.
"A lot of industry shows were all canceled around the United States and Canada, and it put a real hurt on that industry," Hawkes said. "So this was something that we felt could subsidize our business."
His company was one of several that were contracted to help with the Free Mask for Every Utahn program a few months ago.
"We ramped up and increased our employee staff by about 100, got a bunch of machines and did about 145,000 cloth masks," he said.
If the one machine pays off, Hawkes plans to expand and make more personal protection equipment that health care workers will still need well after the pandemic comes to an end.
"This is the kind of thing that fits right in with us, you know, highly sophisticated equipment," Hawkes said.
It's now being run out of his newer company, Life Smart, with most of these masks headed to first responders and manufacturing companies.
Hawkes said going from quilting to masks was a big change.
"You can adapt to that," he said. "It's all about having good people and good leadership."
Being able to adapt, is often what running a business is all about.