Mid-Missouri business acquires face masks for community

4/21/20
For Kim Smith and his employees - the workflow at their Eldon business, Smith Paper and Janitor Supply, has changed dramatically.

ELDON, MO — For Kim Smith and his employees - the workflow at their Eldon business, Smith Paper and Janitor Supply, has changed dramatically.

"Staying at least six feet apart," Kim Smith said. "How do you do that in a business where you have trucks being loaded? Well, we've figured it out. We just kind of respect each other's six foot circle."

Also the type of inventory they're selling has shifted as well as face masks made from china have been made available to customers.

"The people who are coming in contact with lots of other folks need this protection," Kim said. "So it has changed our mode of business for this time."

Similar products have been recalled recently by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency. But Kim and his son Ben made sure to heavily vet the company they ordered from and the type of masks they are giving to people.

"As much as we wanted to get these into the hands of the people who needed them we wanted to make more certain that these were legitimate masks,"Ben Smith said. "We don't want to be jumping on a bandwagon so to speak and then throwing a whole bunch of knock off masks into the market."

"That is why it is taking 14 days to turn an order so that everything is done properly through the proper channels," Kim added.

A recent order of a 100,000 masks cost just below four-hundred-thousand dollars. Kim Smith said that an order of masks today were supposed to be loaded onto a cargo plane.

More than just front line workers were in need of the masks. The general public overwhelmed the store's phone lines asking for them too, and Kim says its imperative those people aren't left behind.

"This is about trying to get something in that people need," Kim said.