Behind the Seams recently helped share the news of Merrow Group acquiring the assets and business operations of Superior Sewing Machine & Supply LLC. We connected with Charlie Merrow, CEO at the Merrow Group Companies, and Lonny Schwartz, the prior owner of Superior, to discuss this exciting news and learn more about its impact on the sewn products industry.
Let’s start with how all of this came about. Lonny - What made you decide to sell Superior Sewing Machine & Supply? And how did you choose Merrow?
Lonny Schwartz: My decision to sell the assets and business operations of Superior started with my need to move Superior out of NYC before its lease expired at the end of 2021. Back in late 2018, I knew we would need to move in 2021 because the NYC building my wife’s family owned since the early 1970s and which served as Superior’s main facility was sold.
As I thought about moving the company, it became more and more evident that with no next generation family members to hand over the reins, my staff, my suppliers, and my customers would be better served by me finding the right home for Superior for the next generation. Making sure that most of my team was retained and that the buyer had no major conflicts with my customers or my suppliers was of paramount importance to me and my wife.
While there were several viable buyers, the youth, energy, intelligence, commitment to the industry, track record of growing companies, and vision of Charlie and his brother Owen were what convinced me that they were truly the best fit.
Charlie - The Merrow Group Companies include both Merrow Sewing Machine Company and Merrow Manufacturing. How do these two different entities work together? And how does Superior fit in?
Charlie Merrow: Merrow is 183 years old, and since 2004 Merrow has grown into four distinct groups, with an emphasis on investment in manufacturing and manufacturing-related business. Our core business has always been the development and manufacture of Merrow Sewing Machines and parts. With distribution in 87 countries and a sophisticated technology backbone, we've built new businesses to compliment strengths in our core business.
Merrow is also:
One of the largest technical soft-good manufacturers in the United States;
U.S.-based sustainable medical product manufacturing & supply;
Circular and flat knit goods manufacturing in the United States;
Wholesale parts & equipment distribution.
The opportunity to work with the Superior team and combine the strengths of each operation is remarkable. Superior is the best company in the business supporting wholesale distribution of parts and equipment for the sewn products industry in North and South America. Customer service and a deep stocking position in more than 100,000 parts make it a valuable strategic partner for distribution in the western hemisphere. The only change we will make is to rehome Superior to the 300,000 sq. ft Merrow Mill in Fall River, Massachusetts.
What changes can your customers expect to experience from the acquisition?
LS: Really a question for Charlie, but I only see good things. Charlie and Owen plan to provide the same quality service and product that Superior has always offered to its customers and to maintain and build upon our supplier relationships. But that is not where Charlie’s and Owen’s vision ends. I’ll let Charlie tell you about that…