More than $500,000 in MEDC Match on Main grants awarded to support small businesses

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Funds will support 21 local businesses in 17 communities around the state

LANSING, Mich. – Seventeen communities around Michigan have been awarded a total of $500,743 in grants aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

“Thriving small businesses are the cornerstone of what makes 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 69 full-time and 71 part-time jobs, and the projects are expected to generate a total private investment of nearly $2 million.

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.

“Receiving the Match on Main Grant Funding for the Torti Taco expansion to downtown is extremely helpful and timely. The project will help bolster the group efforts of our community stakeholders in creating vibrancy in downtown Battle Creek,” said City of Battle Creek Small Business Development Director John Hart. “The project elements align with the principles of being a Redevelopment Ready Community. The full-service restaurant build-out includes placemaking elements at the street level, provides for the redevelopment of a city-owned mixed-use property, and involves multiple public and private funding partners. Best of all, it elevates the service provision and capacity of a local entrepreneur who is loved by many.”

The city of Battle Creek will use its $25,000 grant to assist with the expansion of Torti Taco, a family-owned restaurant featuring authentic Mexican food that is made from scratch using fresh ingredients. With the help of the funds, Torti Taco is opening a second location in the heart of downtown Battle Creek.

“We have gotten so much support from the community and our customers. We are so grateful, we love being part of the community and by expanding to downtown with outdoor seating, adding cocktails, and being part of the new State Street Commons Social District, we can celebrate together, very soon,” said Torti Taco owner Javier Fortoso. “Thank you to Battle Creek and all our partners for helping us reach our goals as a team.”

The city of Alpena was awarded $25,000 to support Red Brick Tap and Barrel, an upscale restaurant in downtown Alpena focused on providing a big city experience with small-town hospitality. The restaurant will use the funds to create a new outdoor area that will offer seating for 40 additional patrons.

“Red Brick Tap & Barrel is excited for the opportunity to develop additional outdoor dining space for Alpena’s downtown and would like to express our appreciation for the support of the MEDC, DDA and City of Alpena,” said Red Brick Tap & Barrel Co-Owner Corey Canute.

“We are excited to see this vacant alleyway transformed into a vibrant outdoor seating area for Red Brick Tap & Barrel in Downtown Alpena. The addition of an outdoor bar, string lights, an overhead pergola, and seating will all create a one-of-a-kind dining experience in our downtown,” said Alpena Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Anne Gentry. “We appreciate the support from the MEDC to bring this project to life.”

In June 2020, MEDC announced that 22 communities around Michigan were awarded a total of $993,984 in grants aimed at supporting the COVID-19 economic recovery efforts of small local businesses throughout the state. The grants were awarded through an expansion of the Match on Main program. A total of 299 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.