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COVID-19 Essentials stores can help you stay safe, fashionable

Updated October 28, 2020 - 10:07 am

Thanks to COVID-19 Essentials, you can be safe and fashionable at the same time.

The company, which has stores at the Forum Shops at Caesars and Fashion Show mall, stocks more than 100 mask designs in about any imaginable style, as well as items such as sterilizing wands and sanitizer designed not to leave your hands sticky.

Operating owner James Campbell said the stores, which opened in late summer, arose out of necessity and a sense of the needs of others. Campbell, a mechanic, said many of his clients suddenly found themselves without jobs and couldn’t afford to have their vehicles worked on. He and a business partner got together to approach the problem.

“We could wait and take help from the government whenever we could,” he said. “We decided to be proactive and create a concept.”

His business partner had a friend in Miami who had come up with the idea of stores specializing in anti-COVID-19 merchandise, especially face coverings, and suggested they do the same.

“They’re killing it over there in Florida,” he said. (The chain has locations in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia and is looking to open stores in California, where wildfires have only added to the demand for masks.) “We realized it wasn’t going away. Now it’s part of your everyday person. You want to go to the grocery store, you want to get gas, it’s required to be on you.”

But the problem, he said, is if you’re going out to have a nice dinner that blue paper disposable mask probably doesn’t go with your outfit. Hence the array of masks at COVID-19 Essentials.

Campbell had some retail experience, having had a sunglasses store at Fashion Show. Another partner joined them and they were on their way.

He said their most popular designs are those that are blinged out with sequins and/or crystals. Masks also can be personalized. He mentioned one customer who had rhinestone initials added to her children’s masks; they were such a hit, she returned for more.

“For kids, it’s great,” Campbell said.

There’s a mask with a fan, one that’s made with Lycra and Spandex similar to athletic wear, and on and on. The masks start at $19.99 and go up t0 $129. Merchandise also is available at shopcovid19essentials.com.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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