Red Ants Pants in White Sulphur Springs is known for the women’s workwear.
But right now the company’s “Made in the USA” approach is especially important, as they pivot to providing personal protective equipment, or PPE.
"It's just what we do, right?” said Sarah Calhoun, the owner of Red Ants Pants. “If we have the tools or the supplies, or the means, this is what Montanans do. Pitch in to an effort, and be neighbors."
Employees in White Sulphur Springs are busy sewing general-use cotton masks. For each mask sold, $1 goes to the Meagher County Community Foundation for COVID-19 relief efforts.
Red Ants Pants is also partnering with Bearpaw Outfitters Manufacturing in Billings, taking orders for masks and medical gowns to help fill the gap.
“We're working on a thousand gowns for Billings Clinic right now,” Calhoun said, adding other hospitals have also expressed interest.
“We've been making the general-use face masks for Highway Patrol and Forest Service, and some of the mines. Colstrip just called, Talen Energy, they've put in an order. So we're doing everything we can to step up and make sure folks have the proper PPE."
The Red Ants Pants music festival is canceled this year. Calhoun says it was the right decision, but there will be a huge economic impact on the area.
She told MTN they’re working to innovate and host other types of events where appropriate in an effort to raise money for the Red Ants Pants Foundation.
The non-profit focuses on women’s leadership, working family farms and ranches, and rural communities.
According to Calhoun, it will be especially important to help rural areas moving forward. She hopes people recognize the importance of American manufacturing and continue to support small businesses.
Red Ants Pants is still fulfilling online orders for their other products, even thought their physical shop is closed right now.