When a former Uptown business owner saw people’s reactions to Greenwood passing a city ordinance requiring customers and employees at local businesses to wear protective masks, she wanted to do what she could to support business owners.
Nicole Munnerlyn, who owned Sweet Teas Children’s Boutique in Uptown for eight years, said she was surprised by negative comments she saw from people responding to the new ordinance.
“People were saying ‘I just won’t shop Uptown, then,’” she said. “Well, it’s not the city business owners that should be punished or hurt by a city mask ordinance that’s really there to protect people in the first place.”
The family business, Munnerlyn and Co., makes personal protective equipment, including masks and face shields. Munnerlyn said she’s planning to set up a tent from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in front of Sweet Teas to sell protective equipment, but also to inform the public about masks. For every box sold, 10% of her sales will go to Uptown as a donation to help buy masks for Uptown businesses to use or give to customers.
“After everything that transpired, I just wanted to see what I could do to support our local businesses,” she said. “In addition to being out there, I’d like to educate people too about what needs to be used and what times and places different masks are beneficial.”
She wants to share what research she’s done into masks in order to ensure the ones Munnerlyn and Co. produce are up to FDA standards. The company sells the three-ply masks that are similar to surgical masks, along with KN95 masks that meet the FDA’s 95% filtration requirement.
She wants to show off different ways to test masks, such as by wearing it tautly and then trying to blow air through the fabric. She said if you can blow air through the fabric of the mask, it’s likely not offering much protection.
Before setting up her booth Tuesday, Munnerlyn said she’ll spend much of Monday meeting with Uptown business owners to find out other ways she can help.
Uptown Manager Lara Hudson said the funds raised Tuesday will go to helping businesses buy the protective equipment they need. She said Munnerlyn’s offer was greatly appreciated.
“So many of those businesses are already struggling with the loss of revenues, and they’re going to need to purchase masks,” she said. “Our main goal has been just to help them in any way we can.”
Hudson said even if Greenwood’s business owners might have differing opinions regarding COVID-19 protections, Uptown’s businesses always help one another out.