The global need for personal protective equipment created by COVID-19 has inspired Hillerich & Bradsby Co. to enter the non-medical face mask market. The historic company has introduced Maskonic™ antibacterial masks, which are reusable, water repellent and treated with a bactericide that lasts for up to 10 washes.
“Given the current health crisis and the need for protective equipment, we’re joining hands in the fight against the spread of COVID-19,” said H&B President & CEO John Hillerich. His family-owned company manufactures wood baseball bats for Wilson Sporting Goods’ Louisville Slugger® brand, operates the renowned Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and produces and sells award-winning Bionic™ gloves.
The announcement of the new product line comes just after Gov. Andy Beshear announced that everyone is going to have to wear masks, when he begins to re-open the economy on May 11.
“We’ve channeled our Bionic glove production and supply chain to offer Maskonic non-medical masks for the general public," he said. "Our factory’s expertise is in cutting and sewing materials, so this was a natural progression, particularly in a time of global crisis.”
The face masks are sold in four-packs for $16.99 with no shipping costs and are available at www.maskonic.com and www.bionicgloves.com. A portion of proceeds from sales will go to Feeding America food banks which feeds more than 46-million Americans in need.
“Offering quality masks that were also affordable was a key goal for the company as we explored this market,” Hillerich said. “The four-pack pricing equates to $4.25 per mask, and they can be worn multiple times, further increasing the value.”
Will this be a continuing and sustainable business for them? “We don’t know the answer to that yet as this ‘new normal’ world evolves,” Hillerich said. “Either way, H&B looks forward to the day, soon hopefully, when we can get back to making wood bats and re-open our museum.”
H&B started in 1856 as a woodturner making butter churns, balusters and porch railings. Twenty-eight years later, the company made its first baseball bat, the world-renowned Louisville Slugger®. Sixty years would pass before H&B made its first golf club. The company would pivot to make gunstocks, tank pins and Billy Clubs for the military during World War II.
H&B started its Bionic gloves division nearly 20 years ago when a chance encounter with orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. James Kleinert of the world-renowned Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center happened during a museum visit. Now, because of COVID-19, H&B adds Maskonic to its product line.
H&B will be shipping masks to the homes of all of its employees for their families’ protection during the COVID-19 crisis.