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Brands Continue to Respond to COVID-19 — and Support Retail

Ferndale, WA-based Superfeet is debuting new options to support its retail partners as they remain shut under stay-at-home orders. The firm says it is offering drop-ship capabilities to consumers free of charge for stores who don’t want or are unable to ship inventory from their stores. In addition, for shops who don’t sell online or want to add more options, the firm has developed an affiliate program to share revenue from Superfeet.com sales, as well as creating a number of blog posts and images its making available to retailers encouraging consumers to shop local.

Hoka One One is partnering with retailers to get shoes to workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic through its newly created Front Lines Give Back Program. Hoka will donate 5,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers via its retail partners, who will work to identify local organizations in their communities. To launch the initiative, Hoka partnered with JackRabbit, donating more than 400 pairs of shoes to two hospitals in hard-hit New York and New Jersey. Relatedly, Hoka parent company Deckers Brands has established the Santa Barbara Better Together Fund in its hometown, and committed $1 million to fighting COVID-19. The first grant through the Fund has been awarded to Women’s Economic Ventures, which aims to empower women business owners and is working to provide emergency financial assistance to business leaders.

Gildan Activewear is leveraging its manufacturing facilities to produce non-medical face masks and isolation gowns. The Montreal-based company has received authorization from the Honduras government to partially re-open one of its textile facilities to produce the fabric need for the masks and gowns, and one of its sewing facilities in the country to assemble the final products. Separately, Gildan is in discussions with other retail and imprintables partners interested in distributing personal protective equipment (PPEs), and has communicated with governments in other countries where it operates with an offer to supply non-medical masks and isolation gowns as needed.

Flagstaff, AZ-based Kahtoola is redirecting some of its resources to help its local community in need during the COVID-19 crisis. The brand has made a three-month commitment to employ its resources towards identifying and supporting relief efforts, including a local focus on the Grand Canyon’s Havasupai Tribe and the Flagstaff Family Food Center.

Montana-based outdoor pack brand Mystery Ranch has expanded its efforts to build personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel, essential workers and government entities in its local community. Working in collaboration with local volunteers and members of the outdoor industry, the brand has donated more than 500 face masks and facilitated the making of 8,500 masks by sourcing, donating and cutting the materials for a local volunteer effort. Nite Ize, a Boulder, CO-based accessory company, has supplied Mystery Ranch with certain materials — including elastic and 3D nose pieces — essential to the mask building program.

Burton Snowboards, the VT-based snowboard manufacturer, plans to donate 500,000 KN95 respirator masks to healthcare workers across the Northeast. The first 48,000 masks have been delivered and are being distributed across Vermont and to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, where brand founder Jake Burton Carpenter spent two months in the ICU fighting Miller Fisher Syndrome in 2015. The remaining 452,000 masks are expected in the next 10 to 14 days. Anon, the brand’s helmet and goggle division, has donated 1400 goggles to doctors needing eye protection through GogglesforDocs, and are collecting donated used goggles outside their headquarters that will be quarantined before distribution.

Kent, OH-based Sorbothane continues to operate under essential business requirements. According to company president David Church, Sorbothane Insoles is producing components for the medical equipment, defense and transportation markets. According to Church, production, including insoles, remains consistent and all Sorbothane insoles remain available for delivery.

Two Utah-based outdoor brands have teamed up to work together to both assist each other’s employees and serve customers with essential products during the COVID-19 crisis. Christian Schauf, CEO and founder of Sales for Uncharted Supply Co., a Park City-based brand offering a complete line of preparedness products for the everyday person, said sales have spiked, leading to staff working overtime to keep up with demand. At the same time, Salt Lake City-based outdoor apparel and gear brand Cotopaxi was facing the possibility of staff layoffs after closures of its retail stores. After Park City announced closure of small business on March 25, the brands teamed up, and Uncharted moved all of its inventory and fulfillment aspects of its business to Salt Lake City to Cotopaxi’s warehouse, enabling Uncharted to stay open and work with Cotopaxi staff to offer support.

Starting this week, Carlsbad, CA-based Reef will donate 5 percent of online sales to the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Foundation to support the EMTs and first responders.

Designer Brands Inc., parent company of DSW Shoe Warehouse, has partnered with Midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee to bring the retailer’s shoes to Hy-Vee's shops and e-tail. Initially, DSW will create an experience on Hy-Vee.com, as well as a pilot program that puts pallets of DSW shoes into 120 Hy-Vee locations. Buy-online, pick-up in-store options and DSW shop-in-shops are planned for future rollout. Employee-owned Hy-Vee, headquartered in West Des Moines, IA, operates more than 265 stores grocery stores across eight Midwestern states, with annual sales above $10 billion.

Bozeman, MT-based Oboz Footwear has donated more than 200 pairs of its proprietary O-Fit insoles to Bozeman’s Livingston Healthcare for distribution to nurses and first responders, and plans to send replacements — as well as to coordinate future donations to additional local hospitqals. The outdoor brand also donated its product development department’s 3D printer to Bozeman-based Masks for Heroes Montana, which has supplied more than 4,000 masks to medical workers and first responders in its local area.