News Story

Repeat Business At State’s Corporate Subsidy Window

After first grant led to no new jobs, state gives company a loan

Proos Manufacturing, which operates a metal stamping and fabrication facility in Grand Rapids, received a $200,000 grant from the Michigan Business Development Program in March 2014, on the condition that it meet certain targets.

The company ultimately received $75,000, but when the agreement was subsequently dissolved, it ended up repaying the state $83,960, official records indicate.

The initial award, according to an announcement by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, was to assist in a $5.7 million expansion project that would lead to 50 new jobs.

The announcement of the award was heralded in a report on MLive. Michael Finney, then CEO of the MEDC, said it was a sign that “Michigan is the number one state for creating new manufacturing jobs.”

But for reasons not specified in online records available from the MEDC, Proos was in default on its agreement by 2017 and in what the state described as “repayment mode.” Proos ultimately repaid more than it received in grant funding and the award was terminated.

The state reported no net new permanent jobs resulted from the agreement.

The MEDC declined to provide further details without a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act. Proos did not respond to a request for comment.

The company was in the news in late 2018 with the announcement that it was under new ownership and planning a new expansion.

MEDC officials were involved with the company again, this time providing it with a loan of nearly $1 million for the expansion, which, according to the agency, would lead to 25-30 new jobs over two years.

In a press release, MEDC CEO Jeff Mason said the state’s agreements with Proos and four other companies in West Michigan “underscore the strength of Michigan’s manufacturing, healthcare and IT sectors and the work we are doing to diversify our state’s economy.”