Freson Brothers, the grocers, were setting up a booth at the Taste of Edmonton. And they asked Pulse Metalworks to make a sneeze guard. Basically, that’s a plexiglass barrier that would keep the breath droplets from staff away from festival-goers, and vice-versa.
Now, as restaurants, grocers and even car dealerships look to keep open — but provide safety margins for staff and customers — business is booming for sneeze guards. And screens. And sterilizations sinks.
In their shop, located in a northwest industrial area, owners Ken and Andrea Manning — and seven staff — have made a major pivot as their customers react to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Businesses want to protect staff and customers, and they want to give their customers peace of mind,” says Andrea.
Orders for sneeze guards are coming at about six per day — and Pulse is supplying a number of Edmonton restaurants, including Remedy and Royal Pizza.
Pulse is a 17-year-old company that has been fabricating kitchen fixtures that are in some of the city’s most celebrated restaurants. It has done kitchen work for the likes of the Edmonton EXPO Centre and Northern Chicken. And, plans were in the works to expand into supplying custom-made stainless-steel fixtures for the medical field.
“We are proud to be a part of the food industry in Edmonton,” says Andrea. “We certainly feel pride when we walk into the Edmonton restaurants that have some of our equipment.”
As Andrea speaks, the workers are putting finishing touches on a couple of sterilization sinks. There are barriers that act as splash guards and offer privacy. They look like metal voting booths, except there are sinks inside, and they are mobile.
Andrea says that, with hand sanitizer in short supply, grocery stores and camps are ordering these sinks to allow people to wash their hands in public places.
It’s the shift that’s kept the shop busy, and it means that Pulse hasn’t had to lay off staff.