Gap Inc. has developed a coronavirus sideline and launched a business-to-business division selling face masks.
Already the company has sold about 10 million cloth masks to governments and businesses, including New York City, the State of California and health-care provider Kaiser Permanente.
In the effort, the company said it has “leveraged its deep supply chain relationships and agile operations to provide companies in both the private and public sector with high-quality reusable, nonmedical-grade cloth face masks for their employees.”
Gap started selling masks to customers as the pandemic got started, but saw a bigger need.
John Strain, head of e-commerce and technology at Gap, said: “We quickly started hearing from companies like ours who wanted to be able to supply their employees with the same product.”
The minimum order is 100,000 masks.
Gap Inc.’s brands — which include Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta — have also made donations to community organizations and causes during the pandemic, including the donation of more than 200,000 masks.
The company noted, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are still urging people to wear face masks or coverings when outside the home.”
But the issue of masks has emerged as something of a partisan divide, with President Trump holding large, mostly mask-less rallies and refusing to appear in a mask himself as he seeks reelection.
With COVID-19 cases spiking in Florida, Texas, Arizona and elsewhere, masking up is widely seen as even more important for public health.
The mask business is just one of Gap’s new ventures. Last month, the company linked up with Kanye West, who will bring his Yeezy line to the firm’s namesake chain (and get a chance to build a sizable stockpile of Gap shares if things go well).
But West is not constraining himself to retail or music or social media. The multihyphenate declared himself a late entry to the presidential race in a Fourth of July tweet, although he does not appear to have much of a campaign ready.
If there ever is a President West, at least he’ll know where to get his masks.