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'Monster' Fresno Fabricator of Theme Park Attractions Adapts to COVID Times



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Adversity breeds creation. Or, in this case, the creators turn to creating something new.
Monster City Studios in Fresno usually takes orders from Disney Parks, zoos, and museums.
But, after having to idle half of his staff, James Powell wasn’t going to sit idly by as a victim of the coronavirus lockdown any longer.
“We pivoted and set up a production line to make vacu-formed face shields using our specialized equipment,” Powell told GV Wire.

Photo of an Indiana Jones "man cave" built by Fresno's Monster City Studios::man

Monster City Studios built this Indiana Jones “man cave” for a Fresno homeowner. (

Creativity Beats Adversity

“We’re not manufacturers. We don’t stand in an assembly line,” Powell says jokingly.

Powell wanted to do something to keep his employees working: “So we kind of rag-tag (and) hog-cobbled together a production line and got some equipment.”
His team started making “thermoformed” face and forehead protective shields for sale to the public. The material is much thicker than the popular “maker” style sheet face shields.
Powell launched and the orders started rolling in. They aren’t going to places you’d suspect like hospitals or doctor’s offices. Cemetery workers from across the country have been ordering them. Dentists are using them to protect themselves when they work on patients’ teeth. And NYU is testing out the face shields.
Powell said that 50% to 60% of his sales are to people in the Fresno area. Most of those people are individuals just wanting to protect themselves, he said.

Build a Better Mask

“We also will be starting production silicone, reusable masks in the next week or so,” Powell said.
He says these masks have been tested and approved for use at UCLA Medical Centers and at UCI Health in Orange County.

Monster City Studios says these masks can even be put in the dishwasher. Powell doesn’t envision them going to frontline healthcare workers helping COVID-19 patients, but to support staff in other departments of a hospital or anyone wanting added protection.