Sportswear company turns to face mask sales to keep company alive


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – A Cedar Rapids company that normally sells sportswear and headwear is now turning to printing and selling custom face masks to keep its business alive. Bimm Ridder Sportswear makes a lot of money selling equipment at sporting events. They have lost over 94% of their business since many live sports were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dave Filip is the entire production department at Bimm Ridder. “Normally there are about 15 other people here, but now it’s just me,” he said.

The company had to put all but three workers on leave after their personal protection plan loans expired on Friday. FIlip holds the fort well on his own, but he would like to find his colleagues.

“I hope there will be enough people where we need to start bringing people back,” he said.

Bimm Ridder markets personalized face masks to companies. They will put a company’s logo on the mask. Executives say this only puts a band-aid on the struggling business.

“Until the world of sport opens up with fans in the stands, we are in trouble,” said Bimm Riddder chairman Gary Ficken. “So we’ll be one of the last industries to come back.”

The company has had its ups and downs in its 32 year history. “We were destroyed in the 2008 flood, our entire facility, inventory was destroyed in that flood,” Ficken said. “We never thought we would experience anything worse than the flood, but this virus turned out to be that.”

The hardest part is dealing with the unknowns. So until things get better. Filip will be left alone in the warehouse. “It would mean the world to me,” he said. “Of course we want to save the business, but we want to bring people back, so that they can support their businesses.”

Bimm Ridder can be contacted at

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