BREWER — On July 31, U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited W.S. Emerson to tour the warehouse and speak with employees about their transition to making up to 1,200 masks and other face covings per day in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dedicated employees at W.S. Emerson quickly rallied together to find a way that they could help their community during this difficult time,” said Collins. “Now producing up to 1,200 masks per day, the 100-year old family business is making a meaningful impact on their community while also preserving jobs. This is just another example of how Mainers’ can overcome this public health and economic crisis through their resilience, entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative efforts.”
W.S. Emerson was able to quickly assess the impact of COVID-19, develop an action plan to protect jobs and begin producing face masks with the assistance of the “COVID-19 Countermeasures Program.” The program, which was funded by a $286,000 CARES Act grant and developed by the Manufacturers Association of Maine in partnership with Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and the Advanced Manufacturing Center at UMaine, is working directly with manufacturers during the pandemic to help them recover.
The state of Maine recently purchased 85,000 ear savers from W.S. Emerson, which are used in conjunction with face coverings to ensure that the face coverings fit children. These ear savers will be distributed to elementary schools throughout the state. W.S. Emerson currently has a contract with the University of Maine System to produce 16,700 face coverings for students, which will be used as part of a welcome back kit for the students.
W.S. Emerson, a wholesale apparel business, first opened its doors in 1921 in Bangor. The company has since relocated to Brewer and currently employs more than 40 full-time workers.