FLUSHING — During the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses across the state have stepped up to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.
One of those businesses is BAJ Glass in Flushing.
On Aug. 13, United States Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) toured the BAJ Glass manufacturing company on E. Pierson Road to highlight the role small businesses have played in producing PPE for first responders and medical professionals. Peters learned how the company has utilized its resources to produce face shields and got a first-hand look at the facility’s machines and products.
“BAJ represents the best of entrepreneurs who were willing to step up and change their processes and recruit volunteers because they saw a need,” Peters said. “There was a desperate need, especially at the very early stages of this crisis. Our healthcare professionals did not have the personal protection equipment they needed to keep themselves and their families safe. It was companies like (BAJ Glass) that stepped up and said, ‘we can help you.’”
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, BAJ Glass has manufactured and delivered over 15,000 face shields for frontline workers in Michigan and across the country. Fifty-one volunteer families also lent a hand to make face shields for BAJ Glass and help the company keep up with orders.
“We felt obligated to help out,” said Brian Bowden, owner of BAJ Glass. “We have the network, people, products and supplies that we needed to accomplish what we could, and we did that to the best of our ability.”
Bowden’s business, which has been headquartered in Flushing since last December, produces a variety of customized glass products, including mirrors, shower glass, windshields, floor signs and glass photos for weddings and special events.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit the state hard in the spring, BAJ Glass shifted all its production to face shields and other PPE. Currently, the company is dedicating about 15 to 20 percent of its business to making PPE.
Bowden said that the high demand for face shields kept operations going through difficult times, while grant money from the federal Paycheck Protection Program also gave his company a much-needed boost.
Sen. Peters said that small businesses like BAJ Glass are essential to the country’s economic recovery and its continuing battle with COVID-19.
“The strength of the American economy are our small businesses,” he said. “They are very flexible and nimble and create most of the jobs that we have in the country. Which is why it’s also important for us to provide financial help to make sure that small businesses survive.”