Wolf Administration Highlights Pittsburgh-Based Sports Apparel Business for Supplying PPE, Safety from the Sidelines

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin highlighted the efforts of Little Earth Productions—a family-owned, Pittsburgh-based manufacturer of licensed fashion accessories and apparel for professional and college sports teams—for its pivot to begin supplying disposable masks, KN95 masks, and medical gowns in response to the state’s critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

Little Earth Productions is listed on DCED’s Business-2-Business Interchange Directory (B2B) and currently stocks disposable masks and KN95 masks. The B2B Interchange was created by DCED to directly connect organizations and businesses searching for COVID-19-related products and supplies and was one of four web applications developed by the Wolf Administration to serve Pennsylvania’s critical supply needs.

“Little Earth Productions exemplifies the motivation of the creation of the B2B portal. Pennsylvania’s business community proactively responded to the need for PPE this spring and continues to help anyone trying to access critical PPE,” said Sec. Davin. “As we continue mitigation efforts and head into the winter months, access to PPE has never been more important for our state and country as a whole.”

Little Earth Productions was founded in 1993 and designs and manufactures accessories and pet items for sports teams and has licenses for the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, more than 70 NCAA colleges and universities, and the Armed Services. Notably, the company also makes the Terrible Towel for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When COVID-19 temporarily closed businesses in early 2020, Little Earth Productions CEO Ava DeMarco had already been in contact with family members in the medical field, including doctors and nurses on the front lines of pandemic response in New York City. After learning how difficult it was for them to acquire PPE, Little Earth Productions utilized longstanding relationships and reached out to factories to begin sourcing respirators and masks.

“The B2B portal listed Little Earth Productions as an accessible resource for anyone in need of PPE earlier this year when it was in high demand and short supply, and understanding firsthand how desperate the need was, we were eager to do what we could to help,” said DeMarco. “It has always been our goal to create well-designed, unique merchandise that allows our consumer to express themselves and we’re so happy we can offer that in ways that also keep them safe.” Soon after, Little Earth Productions applied to be listed on the B2B interchange. By April, the company began distributing PPE supplies to medical professionals and other small businesses throughout the state. The company also obtained supplies for Pittsburgh area VA facilities.

In May, Little Earth Productions was awarded a contract with Highmark to produce 125,000 fabric face coverings to be given to Highmark members and stakeholders. The two-layer face coverings were sewn in Pittsburgh with designated space to allow for sewing machines to be spaced safely apart. The project began in June and ran all summer and allowed for Little Earth Productions to employ more than 40 people, including individuals that had been laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic.

In August, with the NFL announcing plans to resume games with limited attendance, Little Earth Productions also developed a two-layer cotton face covering made with repurposed, officially-licensed Terrible Towels and soft cotton jersey material.

Company and product information provided in the B2B Directory is gathered in good faith as a means of connecting Pennsylvania businesses and organizations that are seeking various PPE and other related items to combat the COVID-19 crisis. The information made available is from those entities who voluntarily contacted the commonwealth through the Manufacturing Call to Action Portal.

Currently included in the directory are manufacturers of N95 and KN95 masks, fabric and other masks, disposable masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer, face shields, medical gowns, and cleaning and disinfectant products. Additional supplies and materials can be added as DCED identifies potential manufacturers and suppliers. Businesses that would like to be added to the directory or those with questions should contact RA-DCEDPAMCTAP@pa.gov.

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health website. To receive the latest updates follow the Department of Health on Facebook and Twitter and Governor Wolf on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about the Department of Community and Economic Development, visit the DCED website, and be sure to stay up-to-date with all of our agency news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Casey Smith, DCED, casesmith@pa.gov

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