NORWALK — Custom upholstery manufacturer, Norwalk Furniture, will resume production Monday at its 440,000-square-foot facility.
The company halted production in mid-March, following federal and state government guidelines under the state’s stay-at-home mandate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adhering to CDC and Ohio state guidelines called “Responsible Restart Ohio,” its manufacturing, distribution and production employees will return to work next week following mandatory health and safety protocols that must be put in place at the factory. The guidelines include social distancing, symptom monitoring, face coverings, regular handwashing, staggered shifts and work at home where possible.
“The closure of our factory, combined with so many other businesses in our area, helped keep COVID-19 infection rates low and enabled our health care facilities to ramp up their capabilities,” Norwalk Furniture President Caroline Hipple said. “Now that we have achieved a slowed infection rate — with special care — we will be able to bring full production back to our factory.”
Norwalk Furniture was having a good year production wise, Hipple recently told the Reflector. The company had ordered enough stock to keep it going in the event COVID-19 really affected the economy — a plan that proved to be prudent.
“We have plenty of raw materials and eager craftsmen and women who are anxious to get back to handcrafting beautiful upholstery,” Hipple said. “We look forward to maintaining the top-tier service and design that our partners expect from us, while remaining diligent upon our return on educating our team members on the new protocols we have put in place for the safety and well-being of our team.”
With the closure, the company had moved most of its furniture orders out about five to six weeks after their originally scheduled ship dates. This week, its customer service and procurement departments are preparing for shipping and receiving operations to resume by polling customers and vendors to determine delivery schedules and adjusting prescheduled loads accordingly.
During this time, the factory had not been completely idle. On April 6, Norwalk shifted its production from custom upholstered furniture to sewing protective facemasks and medical gowns for local hospitals and healthcare personnel after receiving its designation for “Essential Business Status” from Huron County. The designation allowed Norwalk to redirect its production efforts and provided for a group of cutters, sewers and pattern makers to voluntarily return to work after being furloughed under the state’s stay-at-home mandate.
“We have witnessed amazing creativity and courage across our employees and our business partners over the last six weeks,” Hipple said. “The compassion and resilience of our industry has inspired us, and while we recognize that the road ahead forging the “new normal” will have its challenges, we are proud to be traveling it together with this remarkable industry.”
https://norwalkreflector.com/ May 01, 2020