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Northland Steps Up: Duluth company prepares to make emergency hospital bed supply

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DULUTH, MN -- Another Duluth manufacturing company is looking to transform its normal operations into something that helps the ongoing COVID-19 fight.

Loll Designs makes outdoor furniture from recycled plastic.

Its owner is looking to use his now-quiet warehouses and machinery to make hospital beds instead.

Right now, Greg Benson is only able to show us what operations of his West Duluth warehouse used to look like.

Many of his 65 employees are considered non-essential by the state,
turning their massive facility into a temporary ghost town.

But those workers could soon return, if there becomes a greater need for overflow hospital beds.

In the warehouse, sits a hospital bed prototype, made from the same recycled materials Loll uses to create outdoor furniture.

It's a project Benson took on after seeing the call for more beds in places like New York.

"People are a lot of different sizes, and this could accommodate most people," said Benson about the bed.

Benson says the material is easy to clean and sanitize quickly, and they can make hundreds in a short amount of time.

"We can stack them up and then the mattress would be inside this frame," said Benson.

The company, ready to step up, should the need arise.

"That's kind of our role here. How can we help? And this is something not everyone can do," said Benson.

Benson says so far he's reached out to the National Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and our region's politicians.

Now he is just waiting for the call to fire up his machines.

Dan Wolfe

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