Despite economic downturn, some businesses flourish - Paycheck

Despite economic downturn, some businesses flourish

As the American economy experiences a rapid downward spiral as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies continue to do business as usual. A few, with lots of hard work, are even prospering these days.

   Prent Corporation of Janesville learned of a need for face shields in the community and began producing them within 48 hours of beginning design work. To date, the company has produced 2.5 million shields.

   “We have a talented design team that is put through the rigors with unique challenges that customers have with their products every day,” said Joe Pregont II, vice president of corporate sales at Prent. “This is fairly simple in comparison to daily work.”

   The face shields are clear plastic and use foam and elastic to stay in place. About 35,000 have been donated to various communities while others are being sold.

   Pregont said business is steady right now but he is expecting to see a temporary slowdown over the next few months because elective surgeries have been postponed. When the surgeries are rescheduled and get underway, Prent will continue business as usual.

   “We were able to maintain regular business and able to ramp up intensive face shield lines because we got a lot of community workers to come in as temporary workers,” he said.

   Professionals in the mental health industry are trying to find creative ways to continue helping patients, especially ones who are struggling to be safe and content at home. In-person visits at Stateline Mental Health Services, LLC in Beloit, Wisconsin have dropped off as virtual and phone sessions increase, said Faith Mattison, licensed clinical social worker at the clinic.

   “I would say that our clinic is continuing to thrive,” she said. “Things have just changed tremendously.”

   The clinic is doing as many therapy sessions virtually or by phone as possible and only allowing a limited number of people inside the clinic, she said. Children under 10 who haven’t been able to successfully participate in a virtual session are allowed in the clinic.

   “I see children with autism,” Mattison said. “Some have done well virtually and some I have had to move to the clinic. I space them out and then sanitize my office and any areas they have been between sessions.”

   Most of the therapists at Stateline Mental Health Services have continued their full caseload working from home. These professionals provide therapy for students in six different school districts, and as schools shut down, this system was upended.

   The clinic recently hired a new therapist who can’t start working until she takes the state exam, Mattison said. Those state exams are cancelled with no known date of being rescheduled. Another new therapist is being supervised by Mattison despite not being allowed to take her state exam either.

   “The state was already very slow at getting people licensed, and now they’ve cancelled what was already slow,” Mattison said. “The system to license people is not helping with the problem.”

   If you need mental health services, call the clinic at 608-368-8087 or visit www.statelinemhs.com.

   Kim Fons, president of Blue Wysteria Coaching and Consulting in Milton, Wisconsin, maintains her focus on supporting her clients through this crisis as she continues to operate her small business. In her conversations with colleagues, she notices many are doing the same, she said. But networking to expand the business has taken a hit.

   “There are very few networking opportunities as we practice social distancing,” Fons said.

   As an industry, she said coaching is interesting because it can be of great value during times like these as people face a whole new way of life, both personally and professionally. While many people embrace the opportunity, others are stuck in crisis mode and are not ready to look ahead, she said.

   “Supporting clients as they explore and figure those things out is at the heart of coaching,” Fons said.

   If you need coaching or consulting services, call Kim Fons at 608-290-8064 or visit www.bluewysteria.com.

   Dave Meddaugh, feed sales representative in Wisconsin and Illinois, hasn’t seen much change in his job since the virus outbreak. Textured feed sales remain steady as do beef mineral programs. Calf prices are good right now, he said.

   “At the end of the day, the animals still have to eat whether they’re going to market now or later,” Meddaugh said.

   The dairy protein market is the only area he’s witnessed spin into a downward trend, he said. Plenty of dairy farmers are being required to cut back on their milk production, which means cutbacks in protein consumption for the cows.

   “I’m glad to hear county fairs haven’t been canceled,” Meddaugh said. “Otherwise I suspect a decline in 4-H projects in the coming years because a lot of families have money wrapped up in this year’s projects and can’t afford to take a loss this year then go buy for next year.”

Mary Hookham

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