Local small businesses receive COVID-19 grants

A dozen small businesses and nonprofits around Michigan, including a Sturgis-based company, have been awarded a total of $1 million through the Pure Michigan Business Connect COVID-19 Emergency Access and Retooling Grants program.

Recipients were announced last week by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which is providing funds to small manufacturers looking to retool and produce critical health and human service supplies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Freeman Manufacturing was granted $100,000. According to a state-issued media release, the grant will benefit Freeman in manufacturing isolation gowns. The grant program offered funds ranging from $25,000 to $150,000.

Jaqueline Harrison, president of Freeman, said the full-isolation, rear-tying gowns cover from the neck down to just above the ankle. Harrison said they are being made for health-care professionals in Michigan hospitals specifically.

She said they are manufactured in Sturgis and 1,000 a day can be produced.

Harrison said the grant will allow Freeman to enhance its equipment as well as bring in new equipment to increase volume.

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