O.P. By Steven M. Grazier
Discount Outlet hopes to get a large number of the masks brought in Thursday to Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Canton, owner Mike Farina said. The Massillon-based discount store is slated to receive a shipment of 300,000 more masks next week for community use.
MASSILLON Discount Outlet is turning into a go-to site for medical masks, distributing hundreds of thousands of the facial protective devices to local medical professionals, first responders and nursing home workers.
Mike Farina, owner of the Discount Outlet stores in Massillon and Jackson Township, has corralled support among his business connections to secure 40,000 specialized medical masks (KN-95) from Asia.
The masks, which can be used by doctors and nurses, were delivered Thursday morning to the store's warehouse on Sterilite Street SE by freight, and aim to benefit hospitals and agencies in Stark County.
"We've totally switched our (focus) right now to benefit the community," Farina said at the warehouse, adding that his company is specifically seeking creative means to acquire the facial protective items not sold at the discount store.
Factoring in the 40,000 masks from Thursday's delivery, Discount Outlet's donation total since last week will reach approximately 200,000 masks.
The amount includes disposable and other masks certified for use by medical professionals. Nursing homes, municipalities and police and fire departments countywide have been beneficiaries. Dalton and Green fire agencies have also received a surplus of masks.
Another shipment of 300,000 masks is scheduled to arrive next week to the outlet's warehouse, Farina said.
Discount Outlet hopes to get a large number of the masks brought in Thursday to Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Farina said. Each mask has a market value between $4 and $6.
He's been able to find the masks in recent weeks thanks to a strong, established base of connections over the last 35 years in business.
"We know people from the Orient and in vast networking circles," he said. "The priority is to help keep people here safe."
Seth Marks, chief executive officer of Discount Outlet, said the company's "eyes and ears" has made finding and purchasing masks easier.
"We have guys who are deal-finders working for us all over," he said.