DALLAS - Many businesses are getting creative to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That includes a longtime Dallas commercial print shop that is shifting gears to add hospital gowns to its list of products.
Hospital gowns may not seem like a natural transition for a print shop, but they actually got the idea when a local hospital reached out to them asking if they're up to the task.
Fortunately for the Odee Company, established in 1923 necessity is the mother of invention. Or in this case, re-invention.
“For a company to survive, you’ve got to reinvent yourself occasionally, and what’s going on right now is another way of doing that,” President of the Odee Company, Jay Atkinson, said.
They are now pumping out hospital gowns by the thousands.
“We are in the printing business, so this is apples to oranges for us,” the company’s co-owner, Steve Holland, said.
It all started with a call from a Dallas hospital asking if they could make gowns because print shops have large cutting machines.
“It was definitely out of the box, yeah,” Atkinson said.
But it got them thinking, could it be done?
“We have a hard time telling anybody no,” Atkinson said.
Odee’s cutters aren’t big enough for cutting gowns, but they found partners with machines that are.
Then it’s time to seal the arms and pack them away just so.
“Slides in the arms, they’ve got these nifty thumb holes that are all the rage now,” Holland explained. “And then tie them in the back. They are made to where they can just kind of be pulled off and disposed and off to the next room.”
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Calls are even coming in from a hospital in New York.
“They were looking for 40,000 a day, a day. That’s a lot of gowns,” Holland said. “We help with what we can, but we don’t have the capacity to get that kind of quantity out.”
In the meantime, they’ll do what they can and take comfort knowing they can keep some workers on the payroll.
And help ensure doctors and nurses continue to care for the sick.
“It feels good to help out, it really does,” Atkinson added.
The hospital gowns will go to medical facilities here in North Texas, as well as other parts of the state.
They said they’re looking for more partners to help meet demand.