SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Hillcrest travel store is stamping out custom masks for waiters at neighboring restaurants.
Owner of Index Urban, Jon Cantwell, said he hopes his gifts break the stigma surrounding masks.
"I hope it just takes the stigma of a mask that might denote a disease or something like that and just brings a little more levity to the situation," he said.
In April Cantwell saw his daughter, Jennifer, sewing masks for days for her friends, some of them nurses, and got the idea to do what he could to help.
"We noticed a lot of restaurants in the area are struggling too," Cantwell said empathetically.
At Index Urban they have a metal leather stamp with hundreds of images.
"The idea comes from these little backpack tags that we do," Cantwell said pointing out a bunch of luggage ID tags with embossed images and sayings.
He used the same tool to stamp whimsical images on masks along with neighboring restaurants' names so waiters could wear them and feel some positivity.
"The response has been 100% positive," he said.
He's made 70 masks for 6 local restaurants and the orders keep coming in.
Cantwell said he doesn't mind making them for free, he's just glad to do something creative and and help fill a need. He added that his doors have been shut through the pandemic but they are repairing travel bags to bring in some revenue.
The front window was broken during a burglary a couple weeks ago, Cantwell said it was like pouring salt into the wound.
The family-owned store is three generations and 60 years strong.
He hopes when his doors are allowed to reopen that San Diegans shop local to help them get back on their feet.
Cantwell said he's also selling specialty towels and sun screen to diversify the store's products during this time.