An East Boston-based independent custom ski manufacturer that switched gears during the pandemic and turned its factory’s focus away from making skis and snowboards to making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers was honored by the state last week.
Parlor Skis on McClellan Highway manufactured and shipped thousands of PPE face shields. The company also donated numerous shields to the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and other local nonprofits.
For their efforts Parlor Skis received the prestigious 2020 Massachusetts Manufacturing Award. Last week. Rep Adrian Madaro delivered the award and citation to the company’s owners Mark Wallace, Pete Endres and Jason Epstein.
“We are honored to be recognized by the State of Massachusetts for our response to the COVID019 pandemic and be awarded the 2020 Massachusetts Manufacturing Award,” said the owners in a statement. “We were very lucky to have our State Representative Adrian Maduro stop by to present the award. We are incredibly grateful that we had the equipment, staff and ability to help in PPE production during crunch time and get it to those who needed it most.”
At the time of the pandemic’s outbreak, Wallace said there was a real and obvious need for safety equipment on the frontlines for healthcare personnel, essential workers, and individuals who must venture out into public.
“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,” he said.
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.
“Congratulations to Parlor Skis in East Boston for receiving the Massachusetts Manufacturing Award,” said Rep. Madaro. “I stopped by their shop in Eastie earlier this month to take a look at their operation. This spring, as the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on PPE across the country, Parlor Skis stepped up, reworking their operation to produce hundreds of face shields, going to local organizations like the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. I’m deeply grateful for their commitment to the community and I was honored to nominate them for this year’s award.”
Parlor Skis began in an abandoned funeral parlor in Cambridge with Wallace and his two other friends, Endres and Epstein. 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