FALL RIVER — They gave away $2 million at a Fall River company Wednesday morning.
The money, which was awarded in the form of matching grants, was distributed to 13 manufacturing companies in the state including two Fall River businesses.
The MMAP program started last June to assist small- to medium-sized companies to keep up with new technology and help meet the challenge of bolstering the domestic and global supply chain that has been disrupted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Home textile and cushion manufacturer Klear Vu Corporation, which was one of two Fall River recipients, hosted the event at its corporate office and manufacturing facility at 600 Airport Road inside the Fall River Industrial Park.
The other Fall River business that qualified for the matching grant was Marzilli Machine Company located at 621 South Almond St.
Representatives and owners of other manufacturing companies that received grants drove in from as far away as Pittsfield, Littleton and Chicopee.
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Marzilli Machine Co. gets the max
Marzilli Machine Company qualified for the maximum amount of $250,000.
Its president James Marzilli, a graduate of Fall River’s Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, started the company in 2011 with his wife Lee Anne who acts as its chief executive.
“I think it’s amazing,” Marzilli said of the MMAP grant award, which he says will go towards the purchase of a new metrological machine used to calibrate and inspect various manufactured parts for companies ranging from medical supplies to firearms.
Marzilli, 41, said he’s already begun to hire additional workers to augment his current staff of 27 as a direct result of the MMAP grant.
“The program gave me the confidence to jumpstart a little early in terms of hiring. And we’re also looking for a larger space,” he said.
Marzilli, whose grandfather was responsible for opening Marzilli’s Bakery in Bedford Street, said he’s looking for a low-interest business loan to cover his $250,000 matching amount and will consult with both the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and Bristol County Economic Development Consultants in Fall River.
Klear Vu Corp. gets $87K
Klear Vu Corp. received a grant for $87,000.
“It’s what we asked for,” said its president Ben Cooper, whose grandfather Jack Mintz started the company in 1927 in Brooklyn, N.Y. as a manufacturer of tablecloths, vinyl garment bags and rubber baby pants.
The company moved to Alden Street in the Flint in 1965 and has been in the industrial park since 2013 after buying the vacant and former Genzyme biotech building.
“I think the program is fantastic,” Cooper, 45, said. “It’s important to support small business and manufacturers in Massachusetts.”
Klear Vu, which is known for its patented non-slip chair cushion called The Gripper, has 75 employees, Cooper said.
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He said the MMAP grant and his matching amount will be used to buy some new automated sewing equipment.
Massachusetts economic development
The $2 million grant program was part of last year’s fiscal 2022 state economic development bill.
Mayor Paul Coogan lauded the executive branch of Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt Gov. Karyn Polito, state legislators and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy for their spirit of cooperation.
“This is a great day for Fall River manufacturing companies,” said Coogan.
The MMAP grant program, he said, will help spur “more jobs and more products.”
Kennealy said the 13 companies that received the grants represent a diverse cross section of manufactured goods and products.
A manufacturing renaissance
Michael Tamasi, president and CEO of AccuRounds, a machine shop in Avon, said the current economic climate is ripe for what he called a manufacturing renaissance.
“This is exactly the time to be a manufacturer,” Tamasi said.
State Rep. Carole Fiola gave credit to all facets of state and local government for working together to bring the MMAP program to fruition.
“Unlike some other states we get real results,” Fiola said.
The guest speakers were introduced by Christine Nolan, the director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Center for Advanced Manufacturing awards two Fall River manufacturers