Brooklyn Navy Yard is selling PPE online and at West Elm and Wegmans

July 15, 2020

Photo of Crye Precision face masks, courtesy of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Face shields, ventilators, cloth masks, hand sanitizer–this is just some of the personal protective equipment being produced by manufacturers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. To help their tenants who have shifted from their normal business models to make PPE during the pandemic, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) announced today a a new initiative called “Made at the Yard.” The program includes an online e-commerce portal where tenants can market and sell PPE and related products, as well as PPE vending machines and partnerships with West Elm and Wegmans.

During World War II, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was known as the “Can Do Yard” for its incredible, war-time workforce accomplishments. Nearly a century later, the Yard is home to more than 500 businesses, “employing more than 12,000 people and generating over $2.5M annually in economic impact for the city,” according to their site.

During the height of the pandemic, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and its tenants were quick to answer the Economic Development Corporation’s request for local businesses to quickly manufacture necessary medical supplies. Some of those who stepped up were Kings County Distillery, who started making hand sanitizer in addition to whiskey, and Design company Crye Precision and women’s clothing brand Lafayette 148, who partnered to produce 320,000 surgical gowns in just one month.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of New York City, our manufacturing tenants at the Brooklyn Navy Yard immediately pivoted to supplying first responders and essential workers with critical, life-saving PPE,” said Johanna Greenbaum, Chief Development Officer of BNYDC. “Now, as workers return to their jobs in the city and our economy begins to reopen, we are once again working with our companies to fill an essential need – and figuring out creative ways to get those products to the public.”

Courtesy of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

The idea of the PPE vending machine has been gaining momentum across the city. Earlier this month, the MTA worked with two private companies to roll out PPE vending machines in 10 busy subway stations. Previously, face maks vending machines popped up in Midtown and on the Lower East Side.

Currently, there’s one PPE vending machine at the Yards. It’s on the ground floor of Building 77, which holds the public food hall and atrium. A second machine will be installed at Governors Island, which reopened today. These vending machines will sell masks made by nine different companies (Accurate Knitting, American Heirloom, Atoms, Crye Precision, Engraved Signs, Fydelity, Rebel Designs, Stitch NYC and Tracey Tanner), as well as hand sanitizer produced by Kings County Distillery, EcoLogic Solutions, and Scully’s.

Stitch NYC is also selling its face masks on the shelves of the Navy Yard’s Wegman’s location. In addition, Rebel Designs has partnered with West Elm to sell its cloth masks through the company’s West Elm LOCAL program.

Similar initiatives have sprung up at nearby Industry City, where nonprofit workforce development organization Course of Trade produced more than 500,000 isolations gowns for local hospitals and 3D-printer company iMakr made more than 5,000 face shields.


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