A Toano-based company that makes custom products for historic and tourist areas has “retooled” its operation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bicast Laser, a family-owned company, is now making protective face shields to help frontline health workers.
Bicast projects they can produce about 2,000 face shields per day, with a goal of 50,000 by the end of April, according to a news release from the company.
“These are trying times for all small businesses. As a manufacturer of souvenir goods, we rely significantly on tourism, and we know we will be facing significant challenges in the coming months,” said Bill Gaertner, the company’s president. “As a family-centered business, taking care of our employees is extremely important to us. The beauty of this plan is that we can provide a needed product and keep our employees working.”
The idea came to the team at Bicast after reading the Gov. Ralph Northam’s message on a small business website.
Northam asked for help in addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“This time of year we normally would be busy manufacturing magnets, glassware and other souvenir items,” said Forrest Harris, Bicast’s vice-president. “However, on account of the dire need for PPE and wanting to help, producing face shields seemed like a good fit. We are fully staffed and have on hand all of the equipment we need.”
The company started in 1989 in Williamsburg.