3d09abbe-8436-412d-a331-8cf1d477d8ee-kitsbow_20200324_mask_making_6ft_apart(Asheville Citizen-Times) In thinking back to the start of the coronavirus pandemic in WNC, David Billstrom joked that he hadn’t moved from the same chair in the Kitsbow Cycling Apparel factory in Old Fort in two months. But he was only half joking.

The CEO of Kitsbow, which makes high-end tops, bottoms, jackets and other athletic wear for cyclists, pivoted to the production of personal protective equipment in mid-March, at the height of the local PPE shortage.

The need for PPE is still so hot, the company is now making about 10,000 masks a week and shipping them around the country. Kitsbow doubled its workforce during the pandemic, from 27 to 53, and is still hiring sewers, Billstrom said.

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