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Small Dallas-Fort Worth furniture maker produces masks to help shortage

The Leather Sofa Co. is transitioning from making furniture to masks amid a shortage.
Credit: Jake Dean, Dallas Business Journal
Husband and wife Mitch and DeAnn Lurie co-founded The Leather Sofa Co. in 2004.

After reading about shortages of masks as COVID-19 spreads through the country, Mitch Lurie decided to do something about it.

The Leather Sofa Co. — which husband and wife Mitch and DeAnn Lurie co-founded in 2004 — has shifted daily output at its Lewisville manufacturing facility from 20 pieces of furniture to 1,000 masks for as long as its supply chain allows.

"We could probably do a whole lot more if I can get materials, but we're having a hard time finding elastic and finding materials to cut," Mitch Lurie said. "Right now we might only be able to manufacture 2,000 or 3,000 so it's only three days' work for us."

Lurie said he got a waiver from Dallas because a lot of his employees live there to allow between 10 and 12 people to come into work to produce masks.

The Lewisville-based company employs 52 people. Lurie said he's been in contact with a local oncology group and plans to donate the masks. For a behind-the-scenes look at how the company is producing the masks, click here.

Leather Sofa Co. is the latest example of small DFW companies producing things they wouldn't normally make outside of the current coronavirus crisis.

Another Lewisville company, whiskey-maker Bendt Distilling Co., is producing hand sanitizer for instance.

Like other small businesses, Lurie worries about how his company will be impacted by the broader economic crisis.

Lurie said Monday was "probably the hardest day of my life in business where I had to tell all our people," he paused for a few moments to collect his emotions, "that we didn't have work for them."

Lurie said he and his wife will help employees who need to put food on the table. The company will pay employees this week and give them vacation pay next week whether they've got time off or not.

"Hopefully the government puts politics aside and can get something done where they can help the small business like us," Lurie said.

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