BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — We’ve heard stories about distilleries stopping production of alcohol and making hand sanitizer instead. Now a local company is using its facility to help hospitals amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

Philip Kinder, owner of Bristol-based Kinder Industries Inc., says he’s been in business for 23 years.

“We primarily manufacture boat covers, boat enclosures. We do some commercial canvas architectural stuff,” he said.

Last Monday, they decided to use their equipment to begin making supplies for hospitals in need. Kinder said their focus is on face shields.

“It wraps around someone’s head,” he said while demonstrating how they work. “In conjunction with that, we have some masks. Our big focus right now is to provide as many shields for hospitals as we can.”

Working with Lifespan and SouthCoast Health, Kinder said the goal is to make 18,000 shields — an important service he never thought he’d be offering.

“When you’re doing boat cushions, it just doesn’t compare to supplying a product that people desperately need,” Kinder added. When asked about being a proud American business owner stepping up to provide this service, he said he’s never been this excited.

Kinder also said some generous customers helped to purchase all of the materials, which arrived on a hot shot truck.

“Because of the generosity of the people from the community — they paid for the product, they paid for the transport — this is what we all need to do on a daily basis to make things happen,” he said.

Production began three days ago, according to Kinder, and he anticipates the order will be complete in about two weeks. He said if more orders come in, he’ll gladly fill them, no matter where there may be a need.

“The phone rang today, someone in Mississippi called us and they asked if we could build 1,000,” Kinder said.

Contact Kinder Industries for more information.