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Fabrication During Troubled Times

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

The customers are the same. Only their needs have changed. Britten—a Michigan sign-making company and visual branding specialist—changes up its manufacturing line in an effort to help community and business partners.


Metal, wood, and foam sculpture fabrication. Advanced printing capabilities. Traverse City’s Britten, Inc. has built a reputation for creating the visually stunning stuff that helps America’s largest retailers, sports teams, and businesses get noticed and grow their brand.

But how does that work now? What does it look like when the stadium gates are locked? When concerts, tradeshows—every major sporting event is canceled—and millions are out of work and stuck at home?

Helping people solve problems so they can prosper and function. Building up people, communities, and businesses large and small. At Britten, that normally means helping a business create a cool 3D foam prop, colorful banner, or an elaborate shipping container bar where fans can gather. But right now, the company’s heroes—the customers—need a different kind of help.

From big-city planners, partners in grocery and shopping mall chains, to friends in the medical and hospital fields, Britten has pivoted its concepting and manufacturing capabilities into creating problem-solving solutions that will impact our communities and customers right now. Take a look and, please, spread the word to help connect us with those in need of these solutions right now.



Britten’s hometown network of walk-in clinics had a clear problem: staff members working their open-air reception desks were completely exposed to patients lacking in cough-and-sneeze etiquette.

Britten repurposed Kemilite (cardboard) and clear vinyl banner-making material into a portable “shield” that could be set up on any size counter space. CoughGuard™ caught attention from others in public-facing professions. Social media helped spread the word, prompting orders from bank tellers, receptionists, and retail cashiers.



Weatherproof. Mobile. Lockdown secure. When frontline healthcare providers announced the need for makeshift testing centers and portable shelters for outdoor medical centers, Britten’s BoxPop® team came up with a solid and easily transportable solution.

An in-house fabrication team began working to design mobile testing labs, decontamination units, and custom units with beds, running water, and electricity for ventilation systems and lifesaving equipment.



Frequent handwashing is smart no matter what. But how to get the job done when there’s no easy access to running water?

Britten’s WoodWorks™ division designed an ADA compliant, rolling handwashing and sanitizing station, which are already commonly used by schools and professionals in the outdoor foodservice industry. Compact. Durable. Quick to assemble. Custom and standard units with 4-gallon hot water and 6-gallon waste tanks are ready to ship with promised delivery in under a week.



To help address a nationwide shortage of masks, Britten has already begun taking orders—transforming its huge inventory of premium lightbox knit fabric—the same material shopping malls use for LED-backlit signs—into masks for frontline healthcare workers.

Days after a series of meetings with local hospital officials, prototyping patterns, and testing materials, the Britten team also started transforming banner material into reusable gowns.

Anti-static. Waterproof. Machine washable. The same polyester fabric commonly used in the printing display industry happens to be the near equivalent to material used to create splash-proof hospital isolation gowns.

With some retooling, repurposing of 20,000+ linear yards of inventory, and a little cross-training on commercial-grade sewing machines, hundreds of hospital isolation gowns can be sewn every day.



Now more than ever, grocery stores are looking for fast, affordable ways to communicate varying hours of operation and to help customers with proper social distancing practices in checkout lines. Hospitals need emergency messaging and patient wayfinding solutions for windows, walls, and floors. Britten is equipped and able to answer their calls for help.

Peel-and-stick, vinyl decals are one simple solution. With free design, quick print, and fast delivery, the Britten team can produce ViewThru™ decals that can be adhered to windows that still let passersby see through; non-slip, textured floor decals help with social distancing; and wall decals for health or public service messages that could be applied to any curved or flat surface.



Over the last decade, the Britten’s BannerSaver™ team has been fortunate to work with big-city planners in America and Europe where it’s common to use light pole banners to announce upcoming events and festivals. Now, these same planning partners—and hospitals that already use BannerSaver™ wind-spilling brackets in their parking lots and complexes—are calling in need of banners to communicate important health-related information.

Providing custom printing, design help, and a nationwide network of BannerSaver installers, the Britten team continues to deliver a 24- to 48-hour turnaround on orders. Alert. Notifications. Emergency wayfinding. BannerSaver brackets and light pole banners are helping Britten’s city and medical partners help spread important messaging now when it’s needed most.

Businesses are definitely on shaky ground in these tough times. But the entrepreneurs and companies showing resilience to make it through these troubling times all share the same common thread. And that’s simply helping, innovating and creating, with the goal of doing what’s right while meeting the needs of our customers and communities.


If your business or organization needs help with a special project, mobile medical facilities, critical signage, or personal protection equipment such as masks or gowns, please contact us today.

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