Thierica Display Products expands inner-city plant, keeps jobs in Grand Rapids

Thierica Display Products, a maker of custom-etched plastics and other items for the automobile industry, found a way to expand its existing Grand Rapids plant despite being landlocked in a mostly residential neighborhood.

A 9,500-square-foot addition to the plant's facility at 900 Clancy Ave. NE was made possible by employing some engineering ingenuity. The expansion was needed to accommodate new equipment, more workers, and to renovate the employee break/dining area.

"What's been unique about this is it's in a residential area, and every time they go to expand they say 'maybe it's time for us to move and build a new plant,'" says Mike Kelly, president of Wolverine Building Group. Kelly says this is the fourth time he and Wolverine have worked on an expansion at Thierica. "They looked at their employee base, and many of them walk to work from the neighborhood, and it would create a hardship for their employees."

In the past, says Kelly, Thierica has purchased surrounding residential properties in order to expand.

But this time the company was able to build the expansion in an area that was the stormwater retention basin. The old basin was removed and a new one constructed under a surface parking lot, with piping run underground along Lafayette Avenue. A new surface lot was added on top.

The expansion enables the company to gear up for new business while keeping advanced manufacturing jobs in the inner city.

Thierica officials were not available for comment.

Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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