Face Mask Production at Huebsch Services in 1918 and 2020.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin (April 13, 2020) – The COVID-19 pandemic is often described as a once in a lifetime experience. Huebsch Services, a family owned and operated commercial laundry business established in 1891 and an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been through this before.
Huebsch Services and the Spanish Flu
In 1918, Huebsch Services had already been an established business in the Eau Claire community for 27 years when an influenza pandemic spread throughout the world infecting an estimated 500 million people, or about a quarter of the world’s population, between January 1918 and December of 1920. Even in 1918, the health and safety of Huebsch employees was the highest priority. In October of 1918, when an estimated 21 cases of the Spanish Flu were documented in Eau Claire, Huebsch made the decision to start making face masks to protect employees. John Huebsch, founder of Huebsch Services, was quoted in local news sources as saying, “If one individual is thus saved from the disease, the effect will be repaid.”
Huebsch Services and COVID-19
102 years later, Huebsch Services continues to serve the local community as a commercial laundry and is again experiencing a viral pandemic. As the Huebsch Services leadership team put plans in place to keep employees safe, the discussion again turned to personal protective equipment (PPE). With the shortage of PPE around the world, Huebsch Services developed a plan to make masks for employees once again. The goal is for every Huebsch employee to be given multiple fabric face masks this week to provide protection for employees and their families. To help stop the spread of COVID-19 in its service communities, Huebsch employees will wear fabric masks while working in Huebsch facilities and while servicing customers in the business community.
“The words of my Great Grandfater John Huebsch still ring true today,” says Fourth Generation President and CEO Jim Vaudreuil. “We have been in business for 129 years and throughout that time our focus has always been on helping others. If making fabric face masks for our employees protects one person from this disease, it is worth it.”
In addition to the production of fabric face masks for employees, Huebsch is also supporting the Mask Beez community face mask initiative in the Eau Claire area. To date, Huebsch has picked up, laundered, and then delivered 4,517 new fabric face masks back to the medical community.
About Huebsch Services
Huebsch serves over 6,000 customers in the West Central Wisconsin and metropolitan areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN with offices in Eau Claire, WI and Eagan, MN. Huebsch is dedicated to helping others be successful. The company specializes in the sales and service of work uniforms, floor matting, and facility supplies.
Photos available upon request
- Photo of News Article from 1918.
- Photo of Huebsch producing fabric face masks.