Stitches USA, Buckeye Mask Co. partner on face mask production
Posted August 19, 2020
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that Stitches USA and Buckeye Mask Company will partner to produce high-quality, cotton face masks on a large scale, bolstering domestic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) manufacturing capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Using first-of-its-kind automation in the United States, the combined efforts of both companies can produce over 1.5 million masks a month for civil use.
"The partnership between Buckeye Mask and Stitches USA demonstrates how Ohio manufacturers are stepping up to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19," said Gov. DeWine. "At the beginning of this crisis, I said that we would work to bring PPE manufacturing back to Ohio and the United States to reduce our reliance on foreign markets. This partnership is part of that effort and a great win for Ohio."
"We saw an acute need in Ohio for efficient production of PPE and stepped up to the challenge," said Carla Macklin, president of startup Buckeye Mask Co. in Cleveland. "The speed at which this project came together has been incredible and was made possible by the efforts and foresight of so many across the state."
Stitches USA, headquartered in Sugarcreek, and Buckeye Mask, based in Cleveland, were connected through the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance, a partnership among the Ohio Manufacturers Association, Ohio Development Services Agency, JobsOhio and its network, and the Ohio Hospital Association. The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) is providing engineering capabilities and technical support to make PPE. Normally competitors, the companies combined efforts to reduce costs, increase efficiency and make the greatest impact at a critical time.
"Beating China at its game by investing in technology has been my mission for 20 years," said John Miller, founder and president of Stitches-USA and SUPERB, "We make engineered components in Ohio and ship them to China every week. This same strategy will not only enable us to manufacture PPE in Ohio, we will do it better."
Stitches USA will receive a $500,000 grant from the Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program and a $1.2 million loan from JobsOhio. Buckeye Mask will receive a $30,000 grant from the Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program and a $1.8 million loan from JobsOhio. The funding will help purchase advanced machinery to mass produce multi-ply antimicrobial cotton masks. Stitches USA and Buckeye Mask operate six and nine machines respectively. At full capacity, their mask production is competitive with Chinese facilities.
"We continue to work with our partners and companies, like Buckeye Mask and Stitches USA, to expand PPE manufacturing in Ohio," said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. "The pandemic has exposed a strong need to build the U.S. medical supply chain, and Buckeye Mask and Stitches USA show that Ohioans have the ingenuity, will and talent to be a national leader in this essential effort."
Buckeye Mask Company is a Cleveland-based startup launched in partnership with National Safety Apparel, an 85-year-old automated apparel company. Stitches-USA is a commercial sewing operation that manufactures American ﬂags, high-temp hazmat PPE and equestrian gear. Stitches is a branch of SUPERB Industries, Inc., a Class I FDA registered, ISO9000 and IATF16949 certified manufacturer of engineered products that specializes in hospital bed related components and other capacity available to support the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the past nine years, JobsOhio working with many partners, completed more than 2,500 projects that resulted in more than 198,000 jobs created, $56 billion in capital investment and $9.3 billion in new payroll. During that time, Ohio businesses and workers have been resilient and resolved, driving Ohio's rise in national, independent rankings of best states for business, quality of life and affordability.