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Pandemic leads to new business idea in Berwick

A lot of businesses had to switch up their usual way of operating last year. But one group decided to continue adapting with the times.

BERWICK, Pa. — It's the unlikely product of an unlikely set of business partners.

Last year, a seamstress from Berwick joined forces with an engineering company and a biotech company to make a special kind of face mask.

"We hired sewers so that they would be able to make money during the pandemic," said Debi Giordano.

"I mean, we made tens of thousands of masks," said Greg Martz. 

The masks were made of an antimicrobial fabric that could stop bacteria from growing on them. 

But Debi Giordano and Greg Martz say it soon became clear that their services were no longer needed. Masks were available everywhere.

"We saw the writing on the wall that manufacturing of masks was ramping up, the availability was going up, and really the need for us, I mean, we weren't experts in mask manufacturing. We just did it," said Martz. 

"We saw the dwindling numbers, and we had all this technology at our fingertips," said Giordano. 

"So we said, 'what can we make out of their products that everyday people can use? How can we benefit our community, how can we create jobs, with their technology, and our moxie?'" said Martz. 

After bouncing around a couple of ideas, they landed on bath and hand towels, still using the antimicrobial technology supplied by Noble Biomaterials in Scranton. 

"I know, in my house, oftentimes the towels, after one use, it's not that they smell, they're not fresh. And so with Noble's ionic plus yarn woven into our towels, the towels are actually self-cleaning," said Martz.

The new business is called "Clean PA," which has a few meanings, aside from the most obvious one. 

Since the towels don't need to be washed as often, they're better for the environment.

And Martz and Giordano are looking to partner with former addicts who can sell the towels from their own homes. 

"Sometimes it's hard to find a job, sometimes these folks have trouble reintegrating in society," said Martz. "So what can we do to love them? Well, they can sell Clean PA towels. All you need is a smartphone."

The partner program is open to anyone, though. To find out more, click here.

20% of the profits from the towels will go back into the community. 

"We've already given product away - Berwick YMCA, Beyond Violence, Agape, Hope Center in Nescopeck. We gave $5,000 or $6,000 away worth of towels already," said Martz.