GREER, S.C. — An Upstate company is making lab-certified face masks for first responders, companies and people at home.
Carolina Face Mask & PPE in Greer went out on a limb during the pandemic to initially provide masks for first responders and big companies. The company has grown over the last several months and is now selling masks to anyone who needs them.
“What breaks us apart is that we have the extremely high, 99% or better, bacteria and particle filtration rates,” Rick Gehricke, with Carolina Face Mask and PPE, said.
Gehricke says the company was born out of Advanced Testing Instruments, which has been testing textiles for decades. He says they had the opportunity to bring in some mass production and testing machines and decided to start using them to make face masks.
With the help of three or four people, Gehricke says they can make at least 25,000 masks a day and around 80 masks a minute.
“When I would go to the chiropractor, or when I would go to the dentist, or talk to friends and family, they did not have access to masks,” Ryan Gehricke, with Carolina Face Mask & PPE said.
After initial success selling to first responders and companies running during the pandemic, the veteran-owned company started selling masks to anybody who came out to their site at 203 Parksouth Drive in Greer.
“The biggest thing you won’t see with the cloth or the homemade mask is how they’re tested or where they’re tested,” Rick Gehricke said.
Gehricke says the masks are three layers and lab-certified. The team says this is different from many of the masks you see on shelves or made at home.
“Some are missing meltblown,” Ryan Gehricke said. “Meltblown is what actually causes the bacteria and particle filtration, which is going to be the middle layer in our masks.”
He says they were tested by a third party lab and deemed to have a 99.34% bacterial and particle filtration rate.
“When you sneeze or cough into our masks, or somebody sneezes or coughs around our masks, 99% of that sneeze or cough is filtered,” Ryan Gehricke said.
The company uses American materials, and employs workers from around the Upstate.
Owners says each mask also goes through three people for quality control at the end of production.
Owners say their goal is to expand the business and educate people about the differences between the many kinds of masks.
“I think the education piece has been the best part of this,” Gehricke said.
The company says these are single-use masks, and recommend wearing them for two to four hours.
You can find more information about Carolina Face Mask & PPE here