Small business owners revamp operations, commit to protecting those on COVID-19 front lines

Two small business owners economically squeezed by restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are revamping their operations. They’re now focusing on serving those on the front lines.

In Morgan Hill, 400 face masks fresh of a plane from China are readied for final shipment to New York.

“To be able to make a difference is so great. And I would say it’s beyond words,” said Mike Sinyard, the founder and CEO of Specialized Bicycle.

While two-wheeled peddled transportation is his world, seeing shortages of masks prompted him to shift gears somewhat. His company has started purchasing and shipping masks from Asia to the Bay, and then distributing them to front line workers in need.

“We needed immediate action on this. And that’s why we decided to just import those masks immediately,” said Sinyard. “I was just overtaken with the joy and how much gratitude they have for that.”

More than 40,000 masks are being shipped in the first two weeks. Mike’s goal is to ship a million face masks. On the other side of the country, a Bay Area native and San Josean is retooling his business, to make face shields for hospital workers in New York.

“[I'm] very excited, even in  these crazy times, to be part of the process to kind of get this city going again,” said Sam Payrovi, CEO of Manhattan-based Consortium, Inc.

He says his company is now using its 14 vendors to switch from producing high-end customizable merchandise to face splatter shields. A prototype was approved by the City of New York two weeks ago.

Production using 60 staffers that had been laid-off begins Monday at the company’s Meatpacking District headquarters.

“We kind of had the manufacturing know how and expertise with our brand partners, and we also had the space. So we just decided to convert everything into a production facility for face shields,” said Payrovi.

They are two companies separated by thousands of miles, but both CEOs linked in the ongoing effort to protect those on the front lines.

“I’m not a hero. I think we’re all servants to those in need,” said Sinyard.