Local business now producing
masks, straps to fight the virus

IMLAY CITY — There is no arguing that necessity breeds creativity and innovation.

Witness Vintech Industries in Imlay City, where demand for COVID-19 protective masks and face straps has created a new business opportunity for owner Jim Schoonover and his employees.

Like countless other industries, Schoonover found himself having to lay off 170 of his 200 employees in mid-March in midst of state and national efforts to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Though Vintech was considered “essential” because it also manufactures products for the medical industry, the business nevertheless had to scale back operations significantly.

Vintech President Jim Schoonover and H.R. Director, Courtney Schoonover, display the ease of assembling one of the manufacturer’s ‘Vin-Shield’ face shields.


Vintech’s H.R. director, Courtney Schoonover, said the plant is currently operating with a single shift that includes about 20 in-house employees and another 10 working from home.

Those numbers are expected to increase once production begins on three confirmed independent contracts calling for Vintech to produce 3.5 million mask straps.

Along with those items, Vintech will begin production next week on several thousand “Vin-Shield Face Shields,” a protective mask of Jim Schoonover’s own creation.

Believing that industries worldwide will be operating under new safety guidelines once the economy reopens, Schoonover sees his mask design as being part of the post-COVID-19 “new normal” work environment.

Schoonover said the Vin-Shield Face Shields come in the form of a kit, complete with a flip-up plastic shield, a head
band and straps.

He added that the shields can be adjusted to fit any sized adult and easily assembled in about one minute. Children’s shields are also available.

“For us,” said Schoonover, “this is an opportunity to provide jobs and bring our own people back to work.”

Schoonover estimated that 25-30 employees could be called back to accommodate production of the mask straps.

Courtney Schoonover described the recent layoffs as necessary but temporary, and expects that most laid-off employees will eventually be called back, subject to future product demand.

Courtney added that Vintech Industries is committed to enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocol, which includes taking employees’ temperatures and conducting symptom inquiries on a daily basis.

She said the business will continue to adhere to social distancing measures while making sanitizing agents and masks available to employees and visitors upon entry.

Vintech Industries is located at 611 Industrial Parkway in the Imlay City Industrial Park.

For inquiries about the Vin-Shield Face Shield, contact Jim Schoonover at 810-724-7400 or email to:jschoonover@vintechplastics.com.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.