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San Diego's Blenders pivots from sunglasses to PPE

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit it was time to pivot
Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 21:27:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - You know them for their sunglasses but you're about to recognize them for their safety goggles.

"We sent our team home to work from home. And we just wanted to make moves as soon as we could," says Chase Fisher over a Zoom interview.

Fisher is the founder of San Diego based Blenders Eyewear. Yes, the 31-year-old's company is known for its flashy sunglasses but when the pandemic hit, it was time to pivot.

"You really need to come from a place of community, a place of empathy, a place of support, and a place of love. That's what we're able to do really quickly, which is good," added Fisher.

Chase and his team at Blenders got on phones with their manufacturers and came up with an idea. They immediately started making goggles for health care workers on the front lines.

This weekend they delivered 10,000 goggles to Scripps Hospitals, Sharp Hospitals, and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Another 20,000 will go to hospitals in New York through the Direct Relief foundation to make sure healthcare workers on the front lines have what they need.

"Our goal is to really make an impact and do it tangibly," said Fisher.

But like many other retailers, the pandemic hit at the worst possible time. Blenders started as an online eCommerce business in 2011, and less than a year ago opened its first store in Pacific Beach.

"We're a lot more mobile than other businesses considering retail and restaurants that literally had to shut down," says Fisher. "But March 15th, when this whole thing happened, it was scary, sales tanked overnight."

And yet, when the pandemic hit, Fisher and his teammates jumped right in to help. Many of those front liners have been loyal Blenders customers for years.

"Thousands of customers, literally thousands of customers that are on the front lines battling this thing and we just didn't know that until this happened," says Fisher. "So, with that in mind and the San Diego community that's had our back since Day-1, it was full throttle. Whatever we can do to support it."

A portion of the sales of all Blenders sunglasses in April will go towards the non-profit Direct Relief with a goal to raise $100,000 for the organization. If you'd like more information, click on this link.