Yellow Bird Chocolate Shop of Albion to Receive Money to Expand

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Gov. Whitmer Awards Funding to 41 Small Businesses in 28 Communities to Support 228 Jobs and Grow Michigan’s Economy


December 16, 2021 


Gov. Whitmer Awards Funding to 41 Small Businesses in 28 Communities to Support 228 Jobs and Grow Michigan’s Economy 

LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced that 28 communities across Michigan have been awarded a total of $1,011,057 in grants aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) Match on Main grant program, ensuring that the state continues its strong job growth after adding 67,000 jobs in the last three months.  

“The Match on Main grants are helping us put small businesses first and build on the 145,000 jobs we added last year by continuing to invest in our communities and main streets across the state,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am so grateful to our hardworking, innovative small business owners who form the backbone of our economy, create jobs, and help countless local communities thrive. We will continue investing in them as we usher in a new era of economic prosperity for Michigan.” 

“Thriving small businesses are what make Michigan’s downtowns unique and authentic while helping to create economic opportunity across the state,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “These Match on Main grants will help local businesses find new paths to growth and create and retain jobs, while further developing vibrant, unique, and attractive places where people want to live, work, and play.” 

MEDC’s Match on Main program provides funding to communities that participate as a select and master level community in the Michigan Main Street program or are a Certified Redevelopment Ready community. The communities, who receive the grant funding from the MEDC, in turn award grants of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses seeking support. 

The grants are expected to create or retain 75 full-time and 153 part-time jobs, and the projects are expected to generate a total private investment of more than $1.7 million. 

The Match on Main grants may be used by the business for eligible expenses that support technical assistance, interior building renovations, permanent or semi-permanent activation of an outdoor space, permanent or semi-permanent business infrastructure related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, and other working capital needs such as marketing needs and inventory expenses. Additional needs identified by the business and supported by the local community are also considered. 

The Albion Economic Development Corporation will use its $25,000 to assist with the expansion of Yellow Bird Chocolate Shop, a purveyor of artisanal chocolates in downtown Albion. With the help of the funds, Yellow Bird will expand its manufacturing capacity by scaling up machinery and commercial kitchen appliances, as well as further developing online sales capabilities and consumer education through its popular tasting experiences. 

“We are truly honored to receive Michigan’s Match on Main reimbursement grant opportunity for expanding Yellow Bird Chocolate Shop in downtown Albion. This reimbursement grant means two things to us: first, it will help us meet the local and regional demand for more craft chocolate and artisanal confections; and second, it is an indicator that the State of Michigan is supportive of the efforts and creative development happening in downtown Albion,” said Jenny Risner-Wade, owner of Yellow Bird Chocolate Shop. “We are so grateful for the encouragement and guidance of our local economic development corporation, the city of Albion, the Albion Downtown Development Authority and the Dream.Build.Rise.Albion program. Thank you!” 

The city of Alpena was awarded $25,000 to support Fresh Palate, an eatery in downtown Alpena focused on providing healthy, organic, fresh meals in an energetic, earth-conscious, friendly, comfortable environment. The restaurant will use the funds to completely renovate an underutilized property in downtown Alpena into a trendy retail space with a bar. It will help to expand the downtown’s newly established social district. 

“I can’t thank the MEDC enough for the Match on Main grant award! This gives me hope that the future economy of our downtown community is staying strong and in fact thriving in this uncertain time in history,” said Eric Peterson, owner of Fresh Palate. “A grant of this size makes me feel comfortable that I can complete my expansion project without stressing the whole time over money. A thriving downtown community brings vibrancy and sustainability to a thriving local economy. Business owners really have to put themselves out there and help from someone like the MEDC goes a long way.” 

“We are thrilled to have two projects in Downtown Alpena selected for support through the Match on Main grant program. Both projects will allow our small businesses to grow and expand– and help our downtown thrive as a year-round destination as well,” said Alpena Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Anne Gentry. “The addition of igloos at Hopside Brewery will allow visitors to dine outside year-round, even throughout the winter months. The new bar and food truck court by the Fresh Palate will activate a vacant building and parking lot into a vibrant new food experience downtown. We appreciate the MEDC’s support to move these projects forward and help Downtown Alpena grow.” 

December 2021 Match on Main grant winners: 

City of Houghton Bruce Rundman/dba Good Times Music $25,000 
City of Marquette Downtown Development Authority Ore Dock Brewing Company, LLC $25,000 
Sault Sainte Marie Downtown Development Authority Shilts Enterprises, Inc./dba Co-Ed Flowers and Gifts $25,000  
City of Marquette Downtown Development Authority Superior Culture $25,000  
Charlevoix DDA Smoke on the Water $25,000 
City of Petoskey Old Town Emmet LLC/dba Tom and Dick’s Party Store $25,000  
City of Cadillac Owl Eye Coffee Roasters LLC   $25,000 
City of Manistee Blue Fish Kitchen, LLC  $25,000 
Charlevoix DDA CAFE MERIA, LLC $25,000  
Downtown Development Authority/Grayling Main Street Rolling Oak Brewing Company LLC/dba Rolling Oak Brewing $18,807 
Downtown Development Authority/Grayling Main Street Three Fires Company, LLC/dba White Pine and Petals $25,000 
City of Alpena Downtown Development Authority Hopside Brewery $21,250 
City of Alpena Downtown Development Authority The Fresh Palate LLC/dba Backyard’s  $25,000  
City of Cheboygan Downtown Development Authority Kryska Designs, LLC/dba Hair Design/Shine Boutique & Tanning $25,000 
City of Cheboygan Downtown Development Authority Cottage & Main, LLC/dba Cheboygan Coffee Roasters $25,000 
Grand Haven Main Street – Downtown Development Authority SJW Corporation/dba JW’s Food and Spirits $25,000 
Uptown Grand Rapids, Inc. 601 Browned Butter LLC/dba Brown Butter Creperie and Café $25,000  
Wayland Main Street/DDA Ottomatic, Inc./dba Wayland Hotel Bar and Grill $25,000  
Uptown Grand Rapids, Inc. LORDE Beauty and Cosmetics LLC $25,000 
City of Allegan Tantrick Brewing Co, LLC  $25,000  
City of Gladwin Pale Blue Smoking Co., LLC/dba Pale Blue at the Stone House $25,000  
City of Gladwin The Homestead, LLC $25,000 
Middle Michigan Development Corporation Richli, Inc./dba Blue Gator Sports Pub and Grill $25,000 
Middle Michigan Development Corporation Olive Grove Properties/dba Ginkgo Tree Inn $25,000 
Saginaw Downtown Development Authority Gee’Ques LLC $25,000  
Middle Michigan Development Corporation Not So Shabby Gifts and Primitives, L.L.C./dba Up North Coffee $25,000 
City of Swartz Creek AVH Lockhart LLC/dba Burrito Bro’s/Back Alley Subs $25,000 
Lapeer Downtown Development Authority Center for the Arts of Greater Lapeer, Inc $25,000 
Lapeer Downtown Development Authority Wood Chips LLC/dba Woodchips BBQ $25,000 
City of St Johns HBH Consulting, LLC/dba Fab Five Design, LLC $25,000 
City of Lansing Strange Matter Coffee/dba Strange Matter Coffee LLC $25,000 
City of Lansing Lansing Art Gallery, Inc./dba Lansing Art Gallery & Educational Center $25,000 
Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance Marshall Hardware LLC $25,000 
City of Niles dba Niles Downtown Development Authority Apothica Teas, LLC $21,000  
Downtown Development Authority of the City of South Haven Rocket Time Amusements Inc./dba Rocket Arcade $25,000 
Village of Cassopolis 144 Broadway LLC/dba The 144 Market $25,000 
Downtown Development Authority of the City of South Haven Rock “N” Road Cycle $25,000 
Albion Economic Development Corporation Yellow Bird Chocolate Shop $25,000 
Jackson Downtown Development Authority Jackson Candle Company $25,000 
Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Earthen Jar Inc $25,000 
Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Pearl Street Ventures, LLC/dba Bellflower Restaurant $25,000 
 TOTAL  $1,011,057 

In March 2021, MEDC announced that 17 communities around Michigan were awarded a total of $500,743 in grants aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns around Michigan. A total of 21 small businesses around Michigan received assistance through the program. 

Michigan’s small businesses are a vital part of the state’s economy, employing more than 1.8 million people. Helping businesses to open and grow is a key focus of MEDC, and the Match on Main Street program is one of MEDC’s tools that provides opportunities for new and expanding businesses located in Main Street districts to grow and succeed. For more information on the program, visit here. To learn more about MEDC’s services for Michigan businesses, visit here

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 


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