Home News COVID-19 Situation Local company switches to making masks

Local company switches to making masks

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Alex Ross Photos Above: Socorro Vidales sews a cloth mask Monday at the Saddle Barn at 1102 North Garden Avenue. Left: Pastor Troy Smotherman of Church on the Move, left, and Mike Espiritu at the Saddle Barn facility Monday. The company has switched its focus from making saddles and other horseback riding equipment to making cloth masks.

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A Roswell company has made the transition from making saddles and rodeo accessories to produce thousands of cloth masks, thanks to help from the Roswell Chaves County Economic Development Corporation.

Representatives from the EDC, Church on the Move and Tracy Wright, co-owner of the Saddle Barn, announced their partnership Monday outside Saddle Barn’s production facility at 1102 North Garden Avenue.

“It’s been just wonderful to partner and to see our community just come together and make a difference,” Troy Smotherman, pastor for Church on the Move, said during the announcement.

Saddle Barn last week kicked off its effort to produce 2,500 cloth masks to be distributed by Church on the Move to senior citizens and other individuals with underlying health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The masks will be ready for distribution later in the week.

“Now we are just trying to let the community know we are here, what we are doing and if anyone needs our services to make masks we are here,” she said.

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Mike Espiritu, EDC president, said his organization and Church on the Move pitched in by raising the money that Wright needed to hire back her employees and make the masks. Church on the Move raised one third of the overall amount and the EDC the other two thirds.

The effort will both help save jobs and provide needed masks.

Once the 2,500 masks are made, Wright said, Saddle Barn will produce more for people to purchase. And for every 1,000 masks made,100 will be donated to an organization.

Saddle Barn had been closed since the state issued a public health order in March requiring that all businesses deemed nonessential temporarily halt their operations.

Now that Wright is making the masks, Saddle Barn is deemed essential and because of the money raised by Church on the Move and the EDC, she has been able to hire back all 12 of her employees.

Wright said stories on TV about how some breweries during the pandemic have switched from brewing beer to making hand sanitizer got her thinking about what she and her company could do during the pandemic.

“I just kept seeing how everybody needed face masks and I am like ‘we can do that,’” she said.

Wright then contacted Espiritu about her idea and asked if he knew anyone who needed some masks. He in turn put her in touch with Smotherman and Bud Kunkel, chairman of the EDC.

The transition to making masks has not been hard, Wright said.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext, 301, or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

 

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