Shelley King proprietor of Slick Sportswear and Uniforms is ready to transform her business to stay afloat in these uncertain times. Photo: Trevor Veale
Shelley King proprietor of Slick Sportswear and Uniforms is ready to transform her business to stay afloat in these uncertain times. Photo: Trevor Veale

Gown gig could save this local business

WITH no orders for winter uniforms coming in due to coronavirus, Shelley King is pinning her hopes on winning a contract to make disposable hospital gowns.

Shelley is the owner of Slick Sportswear and Uniforms and has been battling to keep her business afloat. She has operated the business with her husband for 16 years.

She is not employing any casuals and her two permanent employees have taken leave as orders for winter school and sports uniforms dry up.

"We are just playing it day by day to see what happens.

"We've given the girls annual leave to take a bit of a breather and then refocus after three weeks and see where we are at. Hopefully we get the call up for making gowns and I can bring them back to work and we can get back to business as usual."

She has the cardboard ready to make patterns and sourced a supplier of disposable material from Melbourne and estimates it would take just three weeks to make as many as 100,000 isolation and surgical gowns.

Shelley King cutting cardboard patterns in preparation. Photo by Trevor Veale.
Shelley King cutting cardboard patterns in preparation. Photo by Trevor Veale.

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh has applauded Shelley for being proactive and ready to adapt to the current situation.

"The unprecedented global demand on medical supplies like protective clothing has seen traditional suppliers now unable to fill urgent orders to service NSW," Mr Singh said.

"Slick Sportswear and Uniforms is one of many local businesses experiencing a downturn in trade, and it sees the push to produce vital medical supplies as an opportunity to remain open and to keep its staff in work."

Shelley is now waiting to get the green light from the State Government to get back into business.

"I'm doing this for a number of reasons - my daughter is a nurse in Sydney, and I need to give my staff continued employment during this economic downturn," Shelley said.

"I'm very proud to be involved. It's about Australians helping Australians."

The products urgently required throughout NSW include hand sanitiser, handwash soap, gloves, cleaning products, protective clothing, masks, eyewear and paper products.

Other Coffs Coast businesses which can join the fight against COVID-19 are urged to register their interest at https://preview.nsw.gov.au/news/locals-to-fill-medical-supply-chain

They can also phone 1800 679 289 or email nswbuy@treasury.nsw.gov.au