PORTSMOUTH – Local company Sole Choice, is supplying pieces for much-needed masks for New Balance to make masks to assist in the fight against the Coronavirus.
Sole Choice has been in business in Portsmouth for 10 years and many people may not even realize they could perform the service.
One of the owners, Bryan Davis, spoke about their hand in helping New Balance make the masks with the cords being made right here in Portsmouth. Sole Choice is the former Mitchellace, whose CEO is Ryan Bouts.
“We are producing elastic cords for New Balance to make masks,” Davis said. “They are manufacturing and repurposing their shoe factory from shoe manufacturing to face masks.”
The company has a photo of the masks that reads, making shoes yesterday, making masks today online.
Davis continued, “New Balance contacted us and said that they were looking to do this, ‘they asked what you have’ and I said we have several different options and I will send those to you. They then picked one and we went with it. We were able to basically get the production started in about 48 hours and we are producing right now.”
Davis said, “Sole Choice has always been available to help of course, many at the National level, and we are very proud to team up with our manufacturing partners to make this happen and save lives. Our CEO*(Bouts) is very proactive and the second he heard of the need he sprang into action and he has worked with our manufacturing team to make this happen.”
Sole Choice has 40 plus people who work the line. They have day and night shifts and are working right now for about 16 hours. Davis said many can see the lights burning at night as work continues.
Davis shared they supply telecommunications, the Department of Defense, and they even supply medical supplies to medical companies.
“We are not just shoelaces, we supply a lot of companies products, not shoelace specific, there’s cords, cordage, we also do retail products that we ship to other companies that are essential as well. These are retailers that are open right now because they’ve been deemed necessary, we also supply those companies. It is very diverse.”
Sole Choice is still producing their products along with the cords for the masks. Davis said that they are very busy right now.
“New Balance is one of our regular customers, but we are one of their partners and this isn’t something new for us, we have enjoyed a very good relationship. We are shipping every day, it varies by day, but we ship right around 10,000 a day.” Posted on their Facebook page it states, “Sole Choice has already shipped 43,000 cords to start manufacturing at New Balance. Our employees in Portsmouth, OH are the finest around. We are proud to be part of this life-saving effort.”
An important note on the New Balance.com website, they have posted, “The global COVID-19 health crisis has called on individuals and organizations to bring their expertise and resources to solve new and extraordinary challenges. New Balance has engaged a portion of its skilled and innovative U.S. manufacturing workforce to develop face masks to address the significant demand for these supplies. We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility and hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon. We are coordinating our efforts with our government officials and local medical institutions as well other U.S. consortiums and testing facilities.”
Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights