BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – As stores begin to reopen in the coming days, many will be asking customers to wear masks for their protection.
Some people are still struggling to find masks and face coverings. One local business made a switch in production to help fill the need and is pushing out thousands of masks a week.
Rondinelli Tuxedos and Alterations Express was shut down with the rest of retailers over a month ago because of COVID-19. Since then, they’ve started making masks to make up for some of the lost business.
They’re able to sell the masks out of Dutchess Cleaners, which is still open. Owner Gino Rondinelli credits Ellwood Industries for helping him get started in mask making. He asked the company to make 10,000 of them.
It was something Rondinelli had never done before. Designing face masks is a long way from tuxedos, but when it’s your only source of revenue, you learn pretty quickly.
Even with the pending reopening of the tuxedo business, Rondinelli says business won’t be the same with the canceled proms, graduations and weddings.
For now, instead of tuxedos, Rondinelli has dozens of masks lining the walls at Dutchess Cleaners. They come in all colors and patterns.
“All of our employees are now working in the back and were not able to do any alterations because of it, so this is a way for us to generate some dollars because after the payroll protection program is over, we still have to stay in business,” Rondinelli said.
The company is putting out 10,000 masks a week and selling them for $6 each at Dutchess Cleaners locations in Boardman, Niles, Liberty and Austintown. They can also be bought in bulk over the phone by calling 1-800-221-1198, extension 117.
Rondinelli is still gearing for tuxedo sales and rentals. He is putting a plan in place now for when customers come in.
“All of our employees are wearing masks. We have sneeze guards coming. We will have all the safety needed in all of our fitting rooms. We will be cleaning every door handle, everything everybody sits on every time they come in,” Rondinelli said.
Retailers are set to open in Ohio on May 12.
Governor Mike DeWine announced this week that employees at most businesses in Ohio must wear a face covering and strongly recommended that customers do, too.