As our lives and commerce inch back to a return to normal, each morning with Michael & Maddie, we'll spotlight a SouthCoast business leader who is fighting to continue to grow even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, we spoke to Charlie Merrow, the CEO of Merrow Manufacturing, whose worldwide headquarters is located right here in Fall River. Merrow has been known for generations for producing manufacturer's grade sewing machines. They also produce several lines of clothing, but Merrow made the quick decision to begin making and distributing personal protective gowns for hospital workers nationwide.

"We recognized quickly that there was a real problem with the supply chain for essential products and that Merrow could help, but to do it we needed to put a health team into place, we needed to make the facility really safe and protect everybody that was coming into work," he said.

As a result, Merrow has been able to manufacture and distribute 500,000 to 700,000 gowns a week, right from their facility in Fall River.

Maddie asked Charlie what advice the CEO would give to local small businesses. He gave these three terrific tips:

1. Start with staying healthy, taking care of yourself first. No one can run a business if they get sick.

2. If you have to go slow, go slow. Don't assume that things will turn around or be like they were. Things are different, but nobody knows how different.

3. Don't take big risks right now. This isn't the time to put all your chips on the table. This is the time to carefully redevelop your business plan, and be very mindful of the volatility that's going to occur over the next several months, and possibly years.

If you would like to promote how your business is handling the pandemic, please email Michael Rock at Rock@Fun107.com for more information or fill out this form.

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