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#3Heroes: Bridal shop makes masks for healthcare workers

With weddings in limbo, salon repurposes in-demand material into protective wear

AVON, Ohio — The economic fallout from COVID-19 continues, with small business owners among those wondering if they will make it. But in Avon, one shop owner is channeling uncertainty into action.

Spring usually brings a flurry of traffic to A Bride’s Design. Wedding season is a time filled with excitement and anticipation.

But this year, instead of booking appointments, owner Laura Smith, is just trying to provide some comfort.

Credit: WKYC
Laura Smith of A Bride's Design has survived cancer twice. Her thoughts right now are with medical personnel on the frontlines of the coronavirus.

“They are heartbroken. I am heartbroken for them. We are just trying to be there for them. We are just trying to stay in contact with them, emailing them, calling them, any way we can,” said Smith.

Brides like Jaclyn Hack, who picked up her gown from A Bride’s Design curbside. Hack is hopeful her July wedding will still go off as planned.

“It’s kind of surreal watching friends who should already have had their weddings, that have canceled or pushed back. I’m just taking it day-by-day. Faith over fear,” Hack said.

Credit: WKYC
A Bride's Design survive the last recession and as a small business owner Smith is hopeful to make it through these uncertain times too.

Smith’s small business is hurting, just like countless others. But her outlook is measured. And hopeful.  A Bride’s Design survived the last recession.  And Smith survived cancer, not once, but twice.

“Getting through that was definitely hard. But I realized how important my health is. And if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. So that’s kind of where my focus is right now,” Smith shared.

Her focus now is not on what she can’t do, but what she can.

Credit: WKYC
Smith is taking bridal garment bags, made of nonwoven polypropylene, into masks.

“Quite a few of my friends that are nurses or doctors and they are really nervous. My best friend is a dental hygienist and she is still working on emergency surgeries. She is really nervous. If there is anything I can do, I was going to protect her. I want to be able to do that,” said Smith.  

Those garment bags, meant to protect bridal gowns, are made from non-woven polypropylene, a material also used in surgical masks.  Smith and her family have taken about 3 dozen bridal bags and they are sewing.

“I put my whole family to work making these masks and we are going to distribute them to the medical people in the industry,” she said.

One garment bag can make about 40 masks. A task keeping her busy at a time when life for so many is idle. With her bride’s still on her mind, smith has opened her heart to those on the frontline.

“It makes me feel good. It makes me feel that I can do something to help protect lives and that’s what my focus is right now. What can I do to help? We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But today I can focus on what I can do to help,” Smith said.

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