MONROE, Ga. - Small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. One brand new company in our area found a way to give back to healthcare workers, while still building up their own business.
"It's cool to see everyone come together and help other people," said Dylan Williams of Monroe.
Williams and Gabrielle Rapposelli started Williams Custom Creations in early February, just before the coronavirus outbreak started causing so many changes to our world. They do laser engraving of a variety of products While managing the new business as well as their full-time jobs as well as four young kids, they felt like they could do more.
"Because my mom is a nurse," said Rapposelli. "Tons of my friends are nurses, too, so we wanted to do something to help them."
One of the functions of their laser engraving machine is carving objects out of acrylic, so they used that to make face mask extenders. The small items can go a long way for healthcare workers: they are designed to grab the straps of face masks that normally go behind the wearer's ears. That keeps the elastic straps from becoming painful for workers that need to wear masks for hours on end.
"We've definitely had nothing but positive come back from it," said Williams. "Seems to be helping."
Williams says they've made about 1,400 face mask extenders so far, with plans to make about 2,000 more. Williams says they've sent donations to 12 different organizations within the region, including nearby Piedmont Athens Regional. They've also given some to individuals with medical situations requiring them to wear masks for long periods of time.
"I'm happy to be able to do something," said Rapposelli "I can't imagine being in their shoes and having to go out. I'm happy I can stay at home with my kids and not have to worry about bringing the virus back to them. A lot of my friends are nurses and they have little kids, so I'd like to be able to do something for them."
The couple says, fortunately, their actual business is doing relatively well and growing. The two-month-old company has seen an increase in orders, specifically for home decor products; they figure because so many people are at home.
Williams says, if you're interested in donations of face mask extenders for you or an organization you know of, visit their business' Facebook page: Williams Custom Creations.