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Montana Company Reeling in Protective Masks and Gowns

Posted by Charles Robison, Montana State Director, USDA Rural Development in Coronavirus Rural
Apr 10, 2020
A Simms employee working
With a track record of making exemplary protective gear, Simms Fishing Products was ideally suited to help healthcare workers challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Simms Fishing Products.

“You get one life, fish it well.” The slogan of Simms Fishing Products in Bozeman, Mont. reflects their passion for making outstanding fishing gear. Not only is Simms the only wader manufacturer in the country today, they are also proud to offer an entire collection of “Made in the USA” products, designed and constructed by expert anglers in Bozeman.

Simms has earned award-winning recognition for its technology advancements, as well as for its drive to protect fishery resources through enhanced environmental safety and education standards.

Known for its technical fishing gear and apparel, Simms makes products that protect its users from the elements. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Montana, the company began receiving requests for a different type of personal protective equipment—medical masks and gowns.

Simms employees first rose to the occasion by volunteering to make 200 masks in one week for Montana’s healthcare professionals. After that, the company put its technical sewing resources to work and started producing medical gowns.

Simms delivered almost 300 gowns to the Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital, with the first delivery on April 3, and has continued production to fill confirmed orders totaling 4,000 more.

Casey Sheahan, Simms CEO, told me that with the shortage of protective gowns, it was critical for the brand to play a part in assisting the American people during this difficult time. Casey has been inspired to see all the brands in the outdoor industry repurposing their facilities, equipment, and skills to help those in need.

The team at Simms was thrilled to deliver the first run of gowns to the Bozeman Health Group and hope their efforts of support can extend beyond the local community to help others around the entire country.

Simms Fishing Products received USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants in 2011 and 2012, allowing the company to install solar panels on its production facility and make energy efficiency upgrades. USDA Rural Development invests in rural affordable housing, community facilities, and small businesses around the country to promote rural prosperity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans.

RD is armed with financial resources that can help business owners retain and even create jobs during this difficult time, whether you’re creating fishing waders or sewing medical gowns. Together, America prospers.

Simms employees working
Simms employees sprang into action when their fellow Montanans needed help. Now they’re looking to help the rest of the country. Photo by Simms Fishing Products.
Category/Topic: Coronavirus Rural