CLEAR LAKE, S.D. (KELO) — As many more establishments get back to business, the CDC recommends people wear masks in public to reduce the spread of the virus. Some businesses may even require it.
That’s where a Clear Lake company comes in. South Dakota Partners is a medical device manufacturer. The local company could soon be helping to supply a world-wide demand for masks.
Maynard’s Food Centers are located in small communities in Minnesota and South Dakota. They’re the first to pilot a new face mask that could keep people safer at the grocery store.
“It’s something positive for Clear Lake. I’m glad we have a company here in Clear Lake that can make these. It’s for the safety of my customers, the safety of my employees,” Nancy Bardondeau, Maynard’s Food Center Manager, said.
Dakota Partners, which makes drug patches and other medical devices, came up with the idea, using materials already on hand.
“We were talking about, what could we do? And that discussion lead to the creating of face masks, that really in our eyes is more like an electrode. Those are things we do and we are just applying it to a different application,” Luke Faulstick, Owner of Dakota Partners, said.
The QwikGuard masks are printed on sheets or rolls and individually dispensed.
“You peel it off a backer, just like you do a label and then you place it on and go and do whatever you’re going to do,” Faulstick said.
So what do store customers think?
“I thought it was great. My customers really liked them. They felt safe when they came in the store. I’m all for it,” Bardondeau said
The adhesive is safe for skin.
“You don’t got something pulling on your ears and it’s so much more comfortable and when you’re talking they don’t move,” Bardondeau said.
“We had some customers that had a full beard. We were surprised it worked for them,” Faulstick said.
While not a medical grade N95 mask, the QwikGuard is made with filtration material.
“It’s meant to substitute for your face mask that you make at home,” Faulstick said.
And the fact that you don’t reuse it makes it more effective.
“Once you take it off, you don’t take it anywhere–you don’t take it in your car with you. You don’t take it home with you,” Faulstick said
The grocery store chain says prevention is key when it comes to continuing to provide their essential service to their communities.
“Because all of our stores are in smaller towns like this, so if were to shut down for two or three weeks, it would really hurt. We’re really trying to do everything possible to keep our customers and employees safe,” Bardondeau said
Maynard’s Food Center is purchasing them, at about 10 cents a mask, for its customers to use. The inventors have applied for a patent.
“We think it could be national and international, because of its simplicity and low cost,” Faulstick said.
Dakota Partners is running its first production of the QwikGuard masks this week and already has pre-orders.