News Story

Corporate Subsidy Agency Lets Firm Walk With $140,000, No New Jobs

But a year later the company celebrated its 100th birthday

TerryBerry, a Grand Rapids-based maker of employee appreciation products, won a $250,000 grant from the Michigan Business Development Program to aid in a planned renovation and expansion project.

The performance grant was premised on the company’s investment of $2.6 million and the addition of 53 new jobs.

“This project will add a significant number of new, skilled jobs to Michigan’s workforce,” the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s regional director Tino Breithaupt said, according to a Grand Rapids Business Journal report at the time.

The city of Grand Rapids also announced its participation in the form of property tax abatements.

TerryBerry got $140,000 of the original grant in 2016, according to the MEDC’s annual report on the subsidy program, accompanied by the claim that the project had produced 58 permanent new jobs.

In 2017, however, the MEDC reported that the grant agreement was terminated because “the company was unable to meet grant agreement requirements.”

The 2018 annual report simply lists the agreement with TerryBerry as “terminated.” In the spreadsheet accompanying the report, the number of new permanent jobs attributed to it is zero. No record of repayment, as is often required of grantees who fail to meet their performance requirements, appears in the agency’s records available online.

An MEDC spokesman declined to provide any additional information about what happened to the TerryBerry project.

The company remains in business and was the subject of a laudatory story about its 100th anniversary in 2018. Company officials did not respond to a request for comment.