Veteran-Owned Clothing Company Pivots to Produce Air Masks

Inside the Nine Line apparel manufacturing facility in Georgia, where an employee tries on a new mask being produced as the company pivots to help the Corona Virus effort. Source: Nine Line Apparel.
Inside the Nine Line apparel manufacturing facility in Georgia, where an employee tries on a new mask being produced as the company pivots to help the Corona Virus effort. Source: Nine Line Apparel.

For Army Veteran Tyler Merrit, his effort to repurpose his production line to create masks quickly is personal.

His mom is a nurse on the front lines seeing patients with a high concentration of Corona Virus infections. His father is also in a high risk category, making Merrit’s mission an urgent one.

But, undertaking this task could bring his company to its knees financially.

Merritt is the founder of Nine Line Apparel, “Relentlessly Patriotic Since 2012,” located outside Savannah, Ga., where he manufactures patriotic apparel.

Their pivot now is to create inexpensive masks faster than what’s been offered to the DoD so far. He also aims to drive the prices down by selling at their cost.

He launched a new website https://www.ninelinemask.com for the effort:

“My mom is on the front line seeing patients where the virus is in high concentration. She and her fellow nurses are running out of the vital protective gear, and specifically masks. She, like so many others, are risking their lives to help save others. They deserve better. They need to be protected. This is personal and I am making it my business.”

Merrit has also been leveraging Nine Line’s robust media profile to get his message out.

“We do not want these multi-billion dollar DoD contractors to drag their heels and make billions of dollars while people die, Merrit told Neil Cavuto on Fox News. “Right now, there’s a contract for 500 million masks to be produced in the next 18 months. We don’t have 18 months. We have days.”

Merritt, a former Army Captain and Air Mission Commander for Special Forces, said he is fully aware of how to get mission-critical supplies quickly. And that both the federal and state government recognize the need for the technical expertise of the civilian sector to create needed PPE immediately.

Military training makes members ready to be thrown into battle and understand that survival is about finding solutions to problems with minimal intel.

“Our country has never needed American ingenuity more than it does at this moment & we’re here ready to serve! Be part of the solution!,” Nine Line Apparel posted on Twitter.

As we fight the Corona Virus as a nation, another veteran and his company is stepping into the void to protect Americans.

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