BARBERTON, Ohio — A Barberton manufacturing company impacted by the coronavirus is reinventing itself by making retractable shields that businesses can use as protective barriers.
The motorized MAG shield, designed by MAG Resources, is made of vinyl and goes up and down with the push of a button on a remote control. The company is also making a non-retractable hanging panel version. Both products were rolled out about a week ago.
Brothers Joe and Jason Giovanini brain-stormed the idea, realizing the many business owners are adding safety measures as they reopen.
"There's a need in almost every facility for some type of barrier system," Jason Giovanini said.
The company, which typically manufacturers custom window coverings, lost about 30% of its revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis. Five employees were temporarily laid off as the business, which was deemed non-essential, was forced to close down for several weeks. It has since reopened.
The family has received $20,000 to $25,000 in commitments from national chains planning to buy the shields.
As more restaurants and shops reopen in Northeast Ohio, Joe Giovanini believes local demand for the shades will grown.
"The social distancing becomes an issue so when you're coming in and you're cashing out, and you have the cashier and you have the close interaction, it's a great barrier to protect their staff and the customer," Joe Giovanini said. "We're just trying to make it as easy as possible for these small businesses who have really taken a hard hit with this coronavirus."
Jason Giovanini said the shields are durable and meant to last beyond the coronavirus.
"We wanted to have something that once this is over, there's still a system in place — flu season — any continued protection that you can provide to your employees and customers coming in and out, it's there when you need it," Jason Giovanini said.
The shield without a motor is being sold for between $80 and $120. The motorized shield is priced over $300.