Friday, October 30, 2020
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Manufacturer gives sanitation stations to local schools

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | September 4, 2020 12:00 AM

Breakout box

Hartstone Designs will host a donation event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Donors can drive through the roundabout, at 150 Industrial Court in Kalispell, pick up a brown-bag lunch and leave a donation that will go toward buying a bulk order of TemChek machines for local schools.

Amanda and Colten Hart have retooled their local furniture manufacturing business to help local schools keep students safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though their company, Hartstone Designs, has been making furniture in Kalispell for four years, they’ve reshaped their business time and again to find the best way to help the community tackle the current health crisis. Their latest endeavor is an effort to supply every local school with an innovative TemChek machine that takes temperatures and dispenses hand sanitizer at the same time.

“Woodworking is not something that’s necessarily needed right now, so we switched gears for now,” explained Amanda.

The Harts started their small woodworking operation in 2016, originally focusing on making magic wands from the popular Harry Potter book series. Hartstone Designs eventually grew into furniture manufacturing, but when the novel coronavirus arrived in the Flathead Valley, the industrious couple revolutionized their business to meet the need.

First, they jumped into producing face masks for hospital staff and first responders such as police, fire and EMS personnel. Amanda estimated they made about 1,600 masks, in the process also providing jobs for people whose livelihoods were put on hold because of the pandemic.

But with school starting up, the Harts decided to pivot once again, this time to help create a safe and healthy learning environment for local students. “It’s important to take care of our most at-risk citizens,” Amanda emphasized.

During their mask-making days, the Harts connected with the Florida company Ident-A-Kid, which developed a two-in-one machine that takes temperatures and dispenses hand sanitizer. The Harts helped prototype and market the TemChek device to schools, and now they’re hoping to be able to donate one of the machines to each of the 45 schools in Flathead County.

“Budgets are pretty tight with schools right now,” Amanda observed. “It’s important to make it as easy as possible to check students as they’re coming in.”

INSTALLING TEMCHECK devices at school entrances should help schools keep the COVID-19 virus out of the classroom. Students can put their hand under the stand to get a squirt of hand sanitizer, and while they’re waiting, the built-in thermometer reads their palm temperature. Amanda said the TemCheck thermometer is just as accurate as any other digital thermometer, with the added benefit of being contact-free.

So far, they’ve been able to donate TemChek systems to Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Bigfork and Kalispell school districts, although none of the devices have been put into place just yet.

In order to supply even more TemChek stands to local schools, Hartstone Designs will host a donation event on Saturday. Donors can drive through the roundabout, at 150 Industrial Court in Kalispell, pick up a brown bag lunch and leave a donation that will go toward buying a bulk order of TemChek machines. One TemChek device will be raffled off during the event, which will go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

One of the partners in the Ident-A-Kid organization, who lives part time in the Flathead Valley, also will be in attendance at the fundraiser.

TemChek systems are also available for purchase for businesses, even though the Harts’ focus right now is on getting one machine into every local school. “We’ll be taking donations until every school has one,” Amanda promised.

The fundraiser will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 150 Industrial Court in Kalispell. Visit https://hartstonedesigns.com for more information.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at (406)-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.