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SylvanSport Adds PPE Into Production Mix

Outdoor gear company SylvanSport, based in Brevard, N.C., has integrated an entirely new line into its usual production of tents, campers, trailers and outdoor gear. While still offering tents and trailers for portable triage and assessment vehicles, this nimble company fully integrated the production of face shields, protective counter guards, and foot-activated door openers into its facility within the past few weeks in order to meet the growing demand for personal protection equipment (PPE) critical in the fight against COVID-19.

SylvanSport’s first priority for distribution started within the immediate region of Western North Carolina, including both front line health-care workers and first responders, as well as essential businesses who need to protect both their employees and visitors or clients.

“We recognize that many businesses must remain open and in doing so, now have an obligation to provide protection for both their employees and clients and visitors,” said Tom Dempsey, CEO of SylvanSport. “In addition to the face shields already in use by first responders in the area, the protective counter guards and foot-activated door openers are additional tools that any essential business can quickly deploy to protect their employees.” SylvanSport is also able to source coated and uncoated Tyvek suits, as well as surgical masks. The company is taking orders for both PPE and outdoor gear via its website.

“We were literally loaded up and about to pull out of our dock on March 12 for Canoecopia – one of our biggest outdoor sales events of the year – when we made the decision not to go,” said Dempsey. “It was early in the life cycle here for COVID-19, but already things were moving quickly, and we knew that our current path was going to take a turn.”

Two days later, the event was shut down.

Dempsey points to a team of talented designers and engineers who were able to quickly design and begin production on disposable face masks, foot-activated door openers, and counter guards. This transition from outdoor gear to PPE was a fairly smooth one because Dempsey has a background as an FDA-approved medical device manufacturer, is a multi-patent holder, and knows his way around international supply chains. It was a perfect mix to launch production on entirely new product lines.

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