After hearing that local health professionals were in need of face masks, Mitch Lurie, owner of The Leather Sofa Co. in Lewisville, decided to use his custom furniture business to make 3,000 masks to donate.
“We’ve got sewing machines and we've got professional seamstresses, so it was quite easy for us to transition,” Lurie said. “We just needed to find a pattern, fabric and elastic. Fortunately, a lot of the stuff that we use in making furniture, we were able to use and transition into making the masks.”
Lurie said he and his staff have managed to make 1,000 masks a day. However, he estimates that they will have to stop at 3,000 masks as they run out of supplies and as Denton County’s stay-at-home order goes into effect, which will require his business to close temporarily.
“We can't make furniture right now, so we decided, 'Let's make masks to help the community,’” he said. “I believe that everybody wants to help and I'm just lucky enough that I'm somebody that was able to help. You know, we've been in the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 2004. And we sold a lot of furniture to a lot of people, and for me, it was just so easy because they've helped me get to where I am. So now, I can give back to show people that I really do care.”
Retail operations at the company stopped about a week ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, Lurie said.
“The hardest day for me since I got into business was on Monday, when I had to tell my employees that all I can do is pay them for a week even though they can’t come into work, just to get them through at least two weeks,” he said. “And then, if anybody needs food on the table, case by case, they know to just let me know, and I will try to help out as much as I can.”
Though the future is uncertain, Lurie said one thing is clear to him—that the community will get through this together.
“I hope their jobs will be waiting for them when this is all over, but that all depends on how the economy goes and how much people have the desire to get out and spend money on furniture after this,” Lurie said. “Hopefully, it will get back to normal, and it will help us because people will realize that making stuff locally really does help your neighbors.”