Business owners take advantage of PPE marketplace ahead of phase two
PORT ALLEN – Before businesses like tattoo parlors and bowling alleys can reopen during phase two of reopening the economy on Friday, owners need to get their hands on protective gear. All employees interacting with the public are required to wear a mask.
A marketplace in Port Allen is helping by supplying personal protective equipment to local businesses at a competitive rate.
"There have been any number of people that have been picking up products, and it's a wide range of what those products are,” Hugh Raetzsch said, the CEO of Lyons Specialty Co, a wholesale supplier.
Six weeks ago, BRAC teamed up with Lyons creating the marketplace.
“Access to safety equipment shouldn't be a barrier to getting businesses back open. Our fear early on was that it would be. When you saw that it would take two weeks, prices could go through the roof, and you may never get it,” BRAC CEO Adam Knapp said.
Since then, more than 300 orders have been shipped to local businesses.
“You can't move in to phase one, and now into phase two, unless you have the proper supplies,” Congressman Garret Graves said, who visited the warehouse on Tuesday.
Graves says the capital region needs operations like this to rebuild the economy.
“The sooner we can open things up again, which is exactly what this is allowing us to do, the better it's going to be. You get people back in business again they can start meeting their debts, their mortgages, their car notes, everything else as quickly as possible,” Graves said.
Lyons is sourcing the gear through local and national suppliers, then selling them at affordable rates. Fifty disposable masks cost $52, for example.
“Churches have come through, salons, massage therapy centers, we've had a lot of different types of companies as well as small clinics that have been struggling to gain access to [PPE],” Knapp said.
Purchasing the gear is all done online through BRAC’s website.