Over 50 First Nations supplied with PPE by Indigenous-owned company

A small company based in Winnipeg’s exchange district is distributing advanced personal protective equipment to remote First Nations communities across Canada.

Exchange PPE opened a store on Bannatyne Avenue in mid-September after selling exclusively to First Nations communities since May.

“We have customers ranging from Akwesasne, Ont., all the way to B.C. now. All of which who trust our ability to get them the products they need in a timely manner,” said the company’s CEO Noel Bernier.

Exchange PPE’s CEO and co-founder, Noel Bernier.
Exchange PPE’s CEO and co-founder, Noel Bernier. Marek Tkach / Global New

Ten full-time Indigenous workers are employed at Exchange PPE, with four of them on assignment out of province.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: ‘Rewarding’: Businesses that pivoted to make masks, gowns reflect after first wave of COVID-19

“Especially to be able to be Indigenous and helping other Indigenous communities in the fight against COVID, it feels really good to help the general public as well,” says customer service representative Kenzie Wilson.

Bernier says the company began selling the basics like gloves and N95 masks in May.

A variety of masks on display at Exchange PPE.
A variety of masks on display at Exchange PPE. Marek Tkach / Global News

They shifted towards more innovative equipment as the pandemic progressed.

“We learned a lot over the last eight months both in technology and in science, methods we can fight the disease with. That innovation is really what our company became about.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Teen donates proceeds of PPE sales to Montreal Children’s Hospital

Story continues below advertisement

Exchange PPE has grown to carry some of the newest supplies on the market including a wide range of fogging machines and digital screening tools.

The collection of foggers available for purchase at Exchange PPE.
The collection of foggers available for purchase at Exchange PPE. Marek Tkach

“We know we have a short period of time to which our need is there and so we act quickly. We’re there to respond to those needs in the current time,” said Bernier.

The store located at 171 Bannatyne Ave. is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 pm, and on Saturday from 11 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Province says lack of PPE in some parts of Manitoba due to ‘lack of communication’' Coronavirus: Province says lack of PPE in some parts of Manitoba due to ‘lack of communication’

Coronavirus: Province says lack of PPE in some parts of Manitoba due to ‘lack of communication’ – Nov 2, 2020

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source