Darren LaPorte, owner of LaPorte Products, LLC, is committed to keeping his business afloat, his employees healthy and fairly compensated, all while helping the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This family-owned business is more than 40 years old, and they’ve weathered a few storms in their days. Like most Dorchester County boat and boat product manufacturers, LaPorte has been rocking and rolling with high volume sales. Enter Coronavirus.
Never one to let circumstances dictate his success, LaPorte and one of his designers got to work developing a plan that would allow him to keep his employees working while helping the community.
“The material we use in our T-Top Boat Shades is breathable, washable, and extremely stretchy,” said Darren LaPorte. “We thought it might make a comfortable and sanitary option for folks who need a mask to fight COVID-19.”
Using materials already on-hand and newly sourced HEPA filters, LaPorte’s team created the Resilience Mask.
LaPorte stresses the mask they’ve developed is not a medical-grade respirator. However, they are exploring the accreditation process to have it deemed so. The Resilience Mask is a tool beneficial in slowing the spread of germs for non-healthcare workers who are still in regular contact with the general public.
“We just want to help flatten the curve,” said LaPorte. “I put one on while shopping last weekend and noticed that people respected the social distancing guidelines much more frequently, and I remembered not to touch my face as often. If we can just do that much to slow the spread of this virus, it will be worth it.”
The company is selling the masks on their website for $20 each and have a limit of five per order at this time. In a single day this week, they sold 195 units. LaPorte believes they have enough materials to make approximately 30,000 masks, and they are in discussions with others in the industry on other innovative ideas to expand this effort.