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Keep ME Open: Maine-based Flowfold to produce 500,000 shields for Maine CDC

The company is also working to make shields more accessible to small businesses like hair salons, markets and restaurants.

GORHAM, Maine — Flowfold, a Maine company known for its wallets and backpacks made of recycled sailcloth, is getting a big boost after securing a contract with the state's Center for Disease Control (CDC) to produce 500,000 face shields amid the coronavirus pandemic

"It's been completely crazy," CEO and co-founder Devin McNeil said. 

The company first transitioned production to face shields in March as the coronavirus pandemic intensified.

Since then, the products have been distributed to health care workers nationwide. 

RELATED: Maine business 'Flowfold' steps up to manufacture face shields for health care workers

McNeil said when he and his partners first founded the company in 2010, they never expected they would reinvent itself. 

"Not in a million years," he said. "I think as a business owner, the key to long-term success is understanding what sets you apart and then doubling down on those strengths."

That is exactly what he and is his team did in collaboration with MaineHealth, they designed a shield and made thousands for its hospitals and health care facilities. 

"We're really excited that we're able to expand our reach and get face shields in the hands of anyone who thinks they need them," McNeil said. 

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The company has strengthened its partnership with L.L. Bean and doubled its production staff to manufacture and ship the products more quickly. 

Just in the last week, Flowfold launched a section on its website to sell the shields in smaller quantities to businesses in the state, including barber shops, restaurants, banks and dentists offices. 

The shields run from $8-$10 a piece depending on how many you purchase. 

"For us, this is a small thing we can do to return to normal life and to allow us to dig out of this together," McNeil said. 

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