Pontiac factory making social distancing signs, shields for businesses all across the U.S.

A Pontiac business that initially laid off dozens of employees at the start of the pandemic is now thriving, sending COVID-19 safety products to states all over the country. 

More than 100 people were let go from i.M. Branded in March when the virus hit. "Now we are by all accounts 95% back in full employment and we actually are looking for employees, albeit different parts of the business on the production side," says James Whitehead. 

The company used to make decals for companies across the metro area but they've branched out and started a new line called Safely6ft. Having lost his business, Whitehead sprang in to fill a need that the virus created.  

"We have a graphic product line, which is much like the sign you see over my shoulder. We have various different sign components that help tell the story of how people should engage in the workplace or retail environment. We also have other mitigation devices like Team Shield, which is our acrylic partition that when two people have to engage in a closer proximity than 6 feet, that helps them mitigate the transfer of COVID-19."

Companies from almost all 50 states have called and ordered. They all need different shapes and dimensions depending on what they're doing. It's different if it's a dentist's office or a school, for example. 

"There's going to need to be visual cues to how you're going to guide the students through their school day. We also are envisioning either freestanding or desktop partitions to help slow the transfer," Whitehead said. 

Almost 2,500 orders have been filled and they're outpacing themselves every day.  

"I've never seen anything like this in my entire career, where things are literally moving not by the day, not by the hour but by the moment and by the minute. And so as the phone is ringing people are reacting to something that was just presented to them that is changing all the time. So we're doing everything we can to stay up to it."

Eventually when there's a vaccine, Whitehead is ready to pivot to what they made before, a day he and the rest of the world can't wait for.  

"My hope is that the Safetly6ft becomes a moment in time because we are back to what we consider normalize business, focusing on retail automotive, hospitality and retail which, oh by the way, all three have been significantly impacted right now. So our objective here is to try to lessen that loss so we can get back to normalized operation."

If you want more information on what i.M. Branded is making, visit www.safely6ft.com