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A mask startup is rapidly expanding into empty mall stores

October 21, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Covid-19 Essentials is a pandemic-specific store for all your pandemic-specific needs, and the growing business already has eight locations at malls across America.

New York (CNN)Covid-19 Essentials is a pandemic-specific store for all your pandemic-specific needs, and the growing business already has eight locations at malls across America.

Those willing to fork over a bit more -- $129 to be exact--can opt for an "electric mask" sold at the store that has a rechargeable battery and "a fan in it to cool the face," said Nadav Benimetzky, co-founder of the chain.

Benimetzky, a Miami-based businessman, said the idea for the store came to him in the early months of the shutdown.

People were selling these medical masks that weren't the most comfortable," he said.

Benimetzky, with his brother and sister, partnered on the idea to open a store to meet the evolving mask needs of consumers.

"There are already so many stores that have gone out of business in malls.

He said the first Covid-19 Essentials store opened in early June in the Aventura Mall in Miami.

Benimetzky wouldn't disclose how much he has invested to date in opening all of the stores, but said he's recouped the startup investment.

Benimetzky said he's aware that the stores' survivability may be short term.

"We are capitalizing on the fact that there is a pandemic and there's an immediate need for these items to keep people comfortably safe," he said.

In New York City's Herald Square, another similarly-named store -- CV19 Essential -- is catering to the pandemic needs of consumers and businesses.

Store manager Benjamin Hu said CV19 Essential sells a wide variety of products, such as reusable and disposable masks, wipes, hand sanitizers, sanitizing devices, air purifiers and even plexiglass barriers.

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