Vancouver-based Peregrine, a designer and manufacturer of high-end retail and restaurant environments from some of the world’s best-known brands, has pivoted during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis and is now poised for the second wave of plexiglass shield production for businesses.
Brian French, the company’s president, said Peregrine immediately pivoted to make plastic safety shields for various essential businesses and services which did not close during the crisis.
“We are seeing a second wave of demand from retailers, hotels, and restaurants that will be reopening with the easing of restrictions. Based on our research of other parts of the world that are ahead of us, we expect part of their reopening strategy will include plexiglass shields strategically placed to protect staff and customers,” said French.
French said, British Columbian restaurant owners have been in consultation with the B.C. Health Authority on what is important to reopen, this included plexiglass shields.
“We’re still working on the designs and preparing prototypes to experiment with different heights and locations within restaurants. The tables and the bar seem to be a bit more up in the air, but most locations will have plexiglass shields at the host stations” explained French.
Peregrine, which was founded in 1977, primarily manufactures millwork and fixtures for retailers and restaurants with clients including Joey, Earls, Sage Natural Wellness, and Starbucks among others throughout North America.
“As a result of COVID, we are expecting our two main customer sectors (retail and restaurants) to complete fewer new builds and renovations and we have shifted our business focus towards plexiglass shields in the short-term” said French. French said the company has always done the more traditional, commercial millwork but plastics manufacturing has always been part of the business.
“Previously plastics manufacturing would make up 10 per cent of our business. Now we’re looking to make that more like 30 per cent of our work at least until the restaurants and the retail pick back up,” he added.
“One of the nice things for us being a flexible manufacturer, there’s not really a whole lot of difference in our process. We’re still working with wood. We’re still working with metal. We’re still working with plastics and glass. We’re basically just manufacturing different end products with those same materials. It’s not like we have to re-tool or hire different people. We’re just building something for a different application.”
French said the third wave of response with plexiglass shields are going to be locations such as schools and airports. There has also been demand from offices for shields at the reception areas and shared work spaces.
“Schools are an interesting area. We’ve had some inquiries from large universities in the States. It’s everything from shields in the cafeterias and the reception desks to how do we divide up desks,” he said.
“It’s definitely a different world.”
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