For small business owners nationwide, the last two months have been all about staying afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, and adapting operations to run in sync with the “new norm.”
In the case of Eberhart’s Custom Embroidery, based at 3448 Progress Drive in Bensalem, listening to the needs of customers – and adjusting product offerings accordingly – has helped the family-owned company thrive during this difficult time.
Founded in 1997 in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, Eberhart’s typically specializes in the customized embroidery of hats, clothing and even shoes (basically anything that can fit on the sewing machine), as well as screen and digital printing on banners, lawn signs and window decals.
But as COVID-19 quickly spread, owner Richard Eberhart, who took over Eberhart’s from his parents in April 2006, recognized a way to not only keep the business running, but help the masses, by supplying face masks and other personal protective equipment.
“We were just working behind the scenes, myself and a couple people, trying to figure out the direction. It’s been difficult. It has not been easy,” Eberhart said.
But when one of Eberhart’s suppliers offered him layered 100 percent cotton, which could be tied behind the head and used as a face covering, his business’s direction soon became clear.
“I jumped on buying the blanks early on, so we were able to have blanks available to sell to the general public fairly early on,” he said. “We couldn’t get the stuff in fast enough to meet demand. But the companies have caught up and what we’re seeing now is, as people start to go back to work, start to open businesses back up, the demand for face masks with customization.”
Eberhart’s is working one-on-one with a number of organizations, schools and daycares to customize bulk orders of non-medical face masks with their respective logos/decals emblazoned upon each.
The company has also donated hundreds of face masks to the Bensalem Township Police Department.
“We have different levels of demand coming in as things start to open back up. Some people aren’t going to realize they need them until they open back up, but we’re going to try and meet the demand. We’ve also moved into cutting and sewing in-house,” Eberhart said, adding that this allows the business to complete and deliver the masks quicker. “Turnaround time has been the biggest thing. People want this stuff yesterday. Manufacturers are telling us 2 to 4 weeks to get customization done and shipped back in here to Bensalem.”
While Eberhart stressed that the masks are not meant for a hospital setting, they do follow the two-layer cotton recommendation by the CDC. The material hails from the same companies from which he purchases T-shirt material.
“It was quick, it was easy, there was no sewing involved,” he said. “You have to have something. I think it’s personal preference, whether you want a one-layer, a two-layer, a two-layer with a filter, a three-layer. I even met somebody that was wearing, their wife made it, a five-layer mask.”
Blank face masks can be purchased online at tultexfacemasksafety.itemorder.com/sale?read_message=true. Youth-sized masks are available for pre-order. Also available for pre-order are patriotic neck gaiters, which cover the face and neck.
For customized masks, email Eberhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Eberhart’s Custom Embroidery at 215-639-9530. He or a staff member will conduct a one-on-one consultation over the phone.
“We figure out what they want, what their needs are. We’ll do one to infinity,” Eberhart said. “Everything we do is custom is some way. It’s not cookie cutter on the internet.”
Visit facebook.com/EberhartsCustomEmbroidery/ for more information.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com