Vote for Chase Street A&E as a MD Champion of Manufacturing!
The Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland is holding a MD Champions of Manufacturing contest, and we've been nominated for the Resiliency category! Please support Baltimore City business by casting a vote for us by October 18.
Our resiliency story as posted on RMI:
Chase Street Accessories & Engraving designs and manufactures corporate awards, personalized gifts, custom promotional materials, and Baltimore souvenirs. As a veteran- and woman-owned small business in Baltimore City, it presents an ideal example of the resiliency of local small business to unexpected crises.
On March 30, 2020, Governor Hogan announced the stay-at-home executive order that effectively shut down Maryland retail. Chase Street Accessories & Engraving already had an online store in place, so we immediately switched our emphasis to online order fulfillment. Thanks to Maryland's COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, Chase Street A&E was able to purchase remote-work equipment and software for all its staff and to this date has not reduced hours or pay. Because the team already had a cloud-based workflow in place, all order fulfillment continued on-time.
Initially Chase Street A&E grew concerned that cancelled events and conferences would mean a significant decrease in sales of personalized party favors, custom corporate awards, and branded promotional gifts. However, as the popularity of virtual events increased, organizations discovered that physical gifts were a great way to make these occasions feel more "real." Chase Street A&E worked with clients like the Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Concern, the Maryland State Dental Association Charitable & Educational Foundation, and Chase Brexton Health Care to directly ship tailored packages to annual event sponsors and attendees.
While adapting the team's standard business model to meet new demands from customers and clients, Chase Street A&E also leveraged its in-house processing capabilities to support local Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) manufacturing efforts. The team began laser-cutting fabric to mass-produce a 100% cotton mask with a filter pocket and 3D-printing and cutting parts for acrylic face shields. Since March, the team has produced over 2500 items of PPE. Chase Street A&E donated over 1000 fabric masks and pre-cut fabric to Station North Tool Library's mask donation drive, and nearly 100 3D-printed components for Open Works's face shield distribution effort. Overall, Chase Street Accessories & Engraving donated over $12K worth of PPE, PPE materials, and equipment to local causes, while making enough retail sales to keep the entire staff employed and ensure city residents had access to masks during the initial shortage.
The Chase Street A&E team also took advantage of the reduced foot-traffic to update the business plan and refresh the mission statement: "To express appreciation, strengthen communities, and celebrate life events through our design expertise and tailored, responsive production." While the COVID-19 crisis continues to hit the community hard, the team continues to make the best of the situation and will continue to resiliently survive and support its Maryland business partners as much as possible.