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Defense Production Act for Small Businesses

Posted by David Hoole and Frost River

Defense Production Act for Small Businesses

Frost River is ready to help and looking for back-up in the effort of producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical professionals on the front lines in the battle with COVID-19.

We have skilled sewing staff, computer-aided cutting equipment, and a full-featured manufacturing facility in Duluth, Minnesota. We are not a large scale manufacturer, and our team is like a family, and as such, they care very much about the current situation and want to help where possible. But having the skills, labor, and equipment is not enough. There is an aspect of this that makes us nervous...

Here's a letter, straight from our owner, Chris Benson.

Our shop is efficient and has modern technology 

Our Gerber cutting table, which is 48' long, CAD-controlled, and works great to repeatedly and accurately cut the many shapes that we use to make our packs and bags would also work great to cut PPE materials. But our workshop is no "clean room," and we're concerned our well-intended effort can yield unintended legal headaches. Take a look...

Our main sewing floor is laid out perfectly for production efficiency: with professional, industrial machines, our experienced staff has access to single-needle sewing stations on each side, double-needle, and other specialized machines down the center. 

Currently, all is eerily quiet on the sewing floor.

Our shop is fully functional for making packs, bags, luggage, and accessories. We produce goods designed and built to last a lifetime, and we take pride in our products, developing a patina over years of use. That's kind of like our whole shop; it too has a bit of a patina about it. Sterile, clean rooms, have little character, or patina about them. We could lend a strong helping hand of support in the PPE preparedness. But we have a different texture.

We're ready to help!

But there are now unique entanglements. We've worked hard to make an efficient shop and re-invested much of the profits to keep us healthy and moving forward. I was "admin employee one" when I started with Frost River in 2011 and have seen many changes and upgrades over the past nine years. I can see the Boss is a bit nervous now. Knowing we all want to help, him most of all... but worried that what is an excellent environment for making outdoor gear may not appear as such for protective equipment in the event of an issue in our litigious society. It would be devastating to lose what all of us have worked so hard to build while trying to do the right thing. We are asking for your support to obtain government indemnity so that we can get to work and do our part to help in this time of need. We are ready to build the necessary PPEs. There are concerns about potential legal repercussions as we try to provide safety of health care professionals. We want to help as they battle an unprecedented epidemic threatening our human and economic existence.

We want to and are ready to help. Can you help protect us, please?

We are asking you to support us by reaching out to your  SenatorsRepresentatives, and President with a request to protect manufacturers looking to step up and help out when our society needs what we can make! If an auto plant can shift production from cars to ventilators, we can move from bags to PPEs. Copy and paste our blog post - -

email to your elected officials (links in red above) with the subject: Let Them Help?  

IMMEDIATELY? Please do it now!

Thanks from us at Frost River and the best of luck to us all.

-David Hoole and The Frost River Crew