An East Boston-based independent custom ski manufacturer recently turned its factory’s focus away from skis and snowboards to making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers.
Mark Wallace, co-founder of Parlor Skis on McClellan Highway, said his company has manufactured and shipped six thousand PPE face shields and has orders for five thousand more. The company has also donated a bunch of the shields to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and other local nonprofits.
“There is a real and obvious need for safety equipment on the frontlines right now for healthcare personnel, essential workers, and individuals who must venture out into public,” said Wallace. “We decided that we wanted to try to do our part, so we looked at the resources we had in the shop and realized that we are in the fortunate position to have the equipment and staff available to meet that need.”
Wallace said it was an easy decision to pause on Parlor’s regular ski manufacturing processes, order the needed materials, and move its focus to supporting the community and beyond.
“We wanted to find a tangible way to contribute, and I’m proud that our operations and team members were nimble enough to execute on this shift in a matter of days,” said Wallace. “Plus, as a small business navigating an uncertain economy and a ski season cut short by social distancing, this was a good opportunity to keep our employees busy and well-motivated.”
The 9.5 inch long, 13 inch wide face shields are 7ml in thickness with a foam headband and 1 inch elastic fatner. The shields are available in packs of 10, 25, 50 and 100 and cost $3.50 per shield for those wishing to purchase.
Wallace said Parlor Skis began with his two other friends, Pete Endres and Jason Epstein, in an abandoned funeral parlor in Cambridge. After designing and building three models considered worthy by the three ski racers, Parlor sold an initial run of 25 custom pairs and never looked back.
“We are now the largest ski manufacturer in New England, and proud to be among a growing industry of ski builders and artisans across New England and the United States,” said Wallace.
As the business expanded the trio moved their manufacturing operations to Eastie.
“We believe strongly in the New England tradition of hard work and making things the right way, with your hands,” said Wallace. “We are proud to make each pair of skis to order in our East Boston factory.”