Faribault Woolen Mill Co shifts operations to provide face coverings for Caribou Coffee employees

US, Minnesota-based brands Caribou Coffee and Faribault Woolen Mill Co have announced a partnership that provides face protection for Caribou’s 5,000-plus store and roastery employees. Faribault’s team of seventh-generation craftspeople pivoted operations within days to produce thousands of face coverings at their Mill, just sixty miles south of Caribou’s headquarters in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Since face protection recommendations for essential workers were announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in early April, sourcing bulk, non-medical options has been difficult and delayed for most businesses. Caribou Coffee alone had two orders placed with suppliers that were re-directed before reaching out to Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

“Team member safety has always been our top priority, and we have worked hard to ensure that Caribou is ahead of fast-changing guidelines and recommendations,” said John Butcher, president and CEO of Caribou Coffee. “We are thrilled our answer to an important part of serving safely was just down the river with our friends at Faribault. We are so grateful for their partnership.”

“Business is personal at Faribault,” said Ross Widmoyer, president and COO of Faribault Woolen Mill Co. “I’ve known the Caribou team for a while so when they called asking if we would help, the answer was yes. This is about more than two iconic Minnesota brands partnering together, it is about friends helping friends and neighbours helping neighbours during a time of need.”

The first shipment went to Colorado-based Caribou Coffee locations after Colorado entered a mandate of face coverings for all essential workers on 17 April 2020. Shipments have been prioritised almost daily to ensure all locations receive their needed allotment as soon as possible. Minnesota has not yet mandated face coverings for business workers, but all Caribou Coffee team members are now equipped with company-provided coverings and are also following multiple enhanced operations to serve guests safely and responsibly.

“Necessity and American ingenuity came together in this partnership. We didn’t even know our blanket sewing team could make masks in large quantities, but they rose to the challenge,” said Paul Grangaard, chairman and CEO of Faribault Woolen Mill Co. “It’s gratifying for us to be able to help a great Minnesota company like Caribou Coffee.”

Since the onset of Covid-19, Caribou Coffee reportedly has and will continue to implement fact-based guidance and mandates from both national and local health authorities. This includes several changes to enhance social distancing, increase contactless interactions in every store, and promote overall safety through various measures including but not limited to: frequent handwashing and sanitisation practices, increased glove usage for guest interactions, installing acrylic sneeze guards at every counter, pre-shift wellness checks, guest and team member social distancing guidelines and cues, curbside and call ahead capabilities, closing dining rooms and restrooms to the public, and professionally produced face protection. The face coverings produced by Faribault Woolen Mill Co meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for cloth face coverings.

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