ST. THOMAS, ONT. -- A St. Thomas business owner believes he has come up with a way to adapt to the new COVID-19 economy.

Justin Hemming owns Hemmingwoods Commercial Millwork which, in better times, produces custom cabinets for school boards, post-secondary institutions and nursing homes.

Impacted by COVID-19, he was forced to layoff most of his small staff three weeks ago.

“It’s very stressful now, not just in business but in everyday life.”

But then, Hemming realized he might be able to help in the battle against the virus.

Two years ago, his company developed prototype institutional furniture, designed to be assembled and taken apart easily.

He’s now modified those designs to create a bed, a cot and a side table suitable for pop-up hospitals and other temporary accommodations.

“[COVID-19] happened and we saw that there may be a need for temporary beds in the temporary hospitals, in senior homes and in places such as homeless shelters, where these beds can be utilized.”

They products feature tougher hardware than what is used in prefabricated furniture found in many Canadian homes.

In five minutes Hemming put a hospital-type bed together from a stack of pre-cut pieces. He says someone doing it for the first-time could assemble the bed in just 10 minutes.

So far, he’s made 10 of each product. He says his plant would not need to be retooled to produce many more.

“In a month, we could put out 400 beds, all ready to go, ready to be assembled.”

Hemming has set the price of a large hospital-style bed (without a mattress) at between $200 and $300. He says the figure is well below what else is available.

“I want these products to help”, he tells CTV News.

Now, he’s just needs to get his product noticed.

Already in contact with Canadian hospitals and nursing homes, he’s attracted greater interest from south of the border, where COVID-19 hotspots are reported in many metropolitan areas.

Both FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has replied to him about the logistics of getting the beds over the border.