James City County is pleased to announce that Bicast, Inc. (Bicast), located in Toano, has retooled its existing operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bicast, a manufacturer of souvenirs, is now making protective face shields intended to help healthcare workers on the frontlines. Face shields are a part of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to protect healthcare workers treating patients with COVID-19.
In March, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam requested help from Virginia Businesses in addressing the shortfall PPE. Bicast’s team saw the Governor’s request on a small business website. According to Forrest Harris, Bicast’s vice president, “This time of year we normally would be busy manufacturing magnets, glassware and other souvenir items. However, on account of the dire need for PPE and wanting to help, producing face shields seemed like a good fit. We are fully staffed and have on hand all of the equipment we need.”
Bicast’s face shields are manufactured from high-quality plastic sheeting. Their equipment cuts the plastic sheeting to the required specifications. Afterwards, the team on the production line attaches the foam backing and an elastic band creating a reusable protective face shield.
“These are trying times for all small businesses. As a manufacturer of souvenir goods, we rely significantly on tourism, and we know we will be facing significant challenges in the coming months. As a family-centered business, taking care of our employees is extremely important to us. The beauty of this plan is that we can provide a needed product and keep our employees working,” said Bill Gaertner, Bicast’s president.
Bicast projects that they can produce approximately 2,000 face shields per day with a goal of 50,000 total by the end of April.
Bicast is located at 8231 Richmond Road and is a family-owned company that specializes in doing custom work for a wide variety of historical sites, tourist attractions and vacation destinations. Bicast wholesales all of their products and is a SWaM certified Virginia business. For more information, visit bicast.com.
County businesses, who have pivoted and transitioned to support the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to contact Office of Economic Development staff with information about their efforts.
James City County Media Contact:
Laura Messer, Tourism & Marketing Coordinator
Bicast Media Contact:
Forrest Harris, Vice President