From printers to PPE specialists in seven days
About the company
PCL Graphics is a graphic design and printing company, servicing commercial, retail and industrial clients in the healthcare, educational, retail, hospitality and corporate sectors.
Location: Markham, Ontario Industry: Commercial screen printing
Like many entrepreneurs hit by the COVID-19 crisis, brothers Eric and Armond Shahinian were preparing to break the news of layoffs to their employees.
But then inspiration hit.
After looking at the company’s equipment and skills, they saw that they had the tools and resources to make the switch from commercial printing to creating personal protective equipment (PPE) to help support the efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. With a number of clients in the healthcare field, they called around to see what PPE was needed the most. They started by producing counter shields for pharmacy staff, then progressed to face visors to protect frontline workers from infection, and eventually added social distancing floor decals for places like elevators and store entrances.
While the transition went relatively smoothly with their staff, they did run into a few challenges like getting the appropriate authorizations from Health Canada to sell medical equipment, and sourcing enough raw materials from vendors.
The brothers were so encouraged by the success of their initiatives that they are prototyping even more complex tools for frontline workers and more sophisticated ways to ensure social distancing in public spaces such as airports.
“There is no shortage of ideas,” says Eric. “It’s just a question of which ones we can bring to fruition quickly.”