Economic Development, Government, and Manufacturing

Thierica plans $4.5M plant expansion, 91 jobs in Grand Rapids

May 30, 2013
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City bids farewell to GR Chair with transfer
Thierica Inc., is a world leader in paint finishing, product decorating and automated equipment technologies. Photo via Thiericadisplay.com

The city of Grand Rapids is considering two industrial tax breaks for Thierica, Inc., which plans to invest more than $4.5 million to expand its manufacturing operation in the city.

Thierica, Inc. produces display components for automotive and aerospace dashboards through its Thierica Display Products division, based at 900 Clancy NE.

Manufacturing contracts

Last year, Thierica saw its biggest customer move operations to Mexico, which led to a decrease in sales orders for the local manufacturer.

But since then, the firm has rebounded from that loss and has secured so many new contracts that it has to expand its operations.

Thierica is asking the city for an eight-year personal property tax exemption and a 12-year abatement for real property improvements.

City commissioners have set June 11 as the date for a public hearing on the Thierica tax breaks.

“The current application is for a new 9,380-square-foot addition to their current facility and for machinery and equipment required to fulfill their new demand. The company intends to invest $1,043,261 in real property and $3,521,811 in personal-property expansions by the end of 2015,” said Kara Wood, city economic development director.

Wood said the company will also ask the state for a business development grant, similar to one Grand Rapids Chair Co. was awarded, and the tax abatements Thierica is asking the city for would serve as the grant’s local match.

If commissioners approve the abatements, the city will lose about $9,400 in property-tax payments each year for the exemptions duration, but will gain more than $29,500 in new income tax revenue when the project is finished.

Grand Rapids jobs

“They anticipate adding 91 employees, with hourly wages ranging from $12 to more than $47 per hour. All new employees will receive benefits,” said Wood.

Wood also mentioned that the Belknap Neighborhood Association supports Thierica’s expansion.


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Grand Rapids Chair leaves town

Grand Rapids city commissioners also said goodbye to Grand Rapids Chair Co. this week.

At the same time, though, they agreed to transfer an industrial tax exemption, which the board awarded the manufacturer nearly four years ago, from the city to the company’s new location in Byron Township.

The company back then told the city that it would invest $250,000 to expand its relatively new table-making operation, at 837 Godfrey Ave. SW.

Grand Rapids Chair ended up investing $357,000 into the expansion and created a dozen new jobs from it. The company began making tables in October 2009.

But company executives recently told the city’s Economic Development office it has outgrown its southwest side location, purchased property in Byron Township and will soon transfer its operations to that site.

“GR Chair has operated in Grand Rapids since 1997 and has made significant investments in real and personal property to expand their operations since that time. Unfortunately, the company has outgrown its space on the city’s southwest side and intends to transfer its operations to that location,” said Wood.

Byron Center jobs

Grand Rapids Chair Co. employs 110 and plans to add another 50 employees to its workforce from the move to a larger facility.

Byron Township has given the company an eight-year property tax abatement worth $390,000, and Grand Rapids Chair will receive a $200,000 grant from the state if it meets its job-creation commitment.

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