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Columbia Falls screen printing business receives coronavirus relief funding

Posted at 2:01 PM, Jun 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-23 16:01:36-04

A Columbia Falls screen printing company switched to making masks which kept them afloat during the coronavirus.

President of Glacier Clothing Company Bob Upton, told MTN that typically Glacier Clothing Company makes apparel for events, but since coronavirus canceled most events his business took a hit.

"Well the sales are down about ninety percent on the product that we're used to selling," said Upton. "So, I mean, I think that says everything."

He explained to MTN that within the past month he's even had to cut his employee's hours.

However, he told MTN that his company switched to making masks, which saved them.

"The mask making is what kept us alive. It's just that simple," he said. "It's a little slow at the moment, but that first month or so it was all hands on deck we were making about a thousand masks a day."

To help with the mask making, he applied for state grant money.

According to the state's website, businesses in Flathead County were awarded over three million dollars in coronavirus relief funds.

Upton explained that with the funds he was given he's been able to expand his business and increase his mask making capacity.

The money he received he put towards buying new sewing machines and materials to keep making masks.

"It's really helped us greatly improve this mask making operation," said Upton. "We used to cut one inch layers of fabric and now we can cut six to eight inches. We've doubled our sewing capacity by just adding a few basic pieces of machinery. It's also allowed us to make a variety of masks and products that we couldn't before. Things like custom printed masks."

Upton told MTN that his company will continue making masks until there's not a need.

If you're interested in applying for a loan please visit the state's website here.