Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact

Rich Products Gets Some Corporate Welfare


Rich Products is a private Buffalo company that had $3.3 billion in revenues in 2014. According to Forbes Magazine Rich Products is the 140th largest private employer in America. When owner Robert E. Rich, Sr. died in 2005, he was one of the wealthiest people in the world, reportedly worth $2 billion, and his company was the largest family-owned food products company in America.

Recently Rich Products completed an $18.5 million expansion of their Buffalo headquarters on Niagara Street. You would think that a company as large and successful as Rich Products could pay their own way, without needing to tap into government assistance, but corporate welfare in New York does not have any limits.

New York State will be supporting Rich’s project with $4.9 million in capital grants and tax incentives, including a $2 million grant from Empire State Development and $2.9 million in tax credits through the Excelsior Jobs Program. Tax incentives totaling nearly $419,000 are anticipated to come through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency as well. 

A $2 million grant from the State of New York! Small businesses have to take out loans but billion dollar companies get taxpayer funded grants. Pretty amazing! Believe it or not the New York State Constitution explicitly states that government funds are not to be provided to private businesses but through entities like the Empire State Development Corporation, politicians in desperate need to make friends with the wealthy (for campaign cash & ribbon cuttings) have figured out ways around the Constitution. 

  • Mike

    Shame on this article. Rich’s is a big area employer and pays above the average wedge. Just think about all the good Rich’s has done for the Buffalo area! A little investment goes along way to make sure they keep their employee base here.

    • Ridgewaycynic2013

      Although Rich Products has contributed to the local economy, I recall reading that no Rich Products manufacturing jobs remain in Buffalo. As a matter of fact, a Business First article from 2011 that gives the impression Rich Products is reopening a plant, whereas all they were doing was leasing it to Island Oasis, a drink base manufacturer.

      For that matter, go to the Rich Products web page, and scroll over the map of company locations. That webpage indicates no more manufacturing is done in Buffalo / Western New York.

    • BlackRockLifer

      Corporate welfare is the most despicable form of entitlement, enabling the wealthy with our tax dollars cannot be justified or defended.

  • New York – home of the politically connected.

  • BlackRockLifer

    Just incredible how the wealthy continue to exploit our political system and extract even more wealth from the average taxpayers. Even more incredible is how the right has convinced so many Americans that the poor are the problem while it is actually the wealthy that are feeding heartily at the public trough.

  • HapKlein

    Its scoring and boasting rights that require these wealthy to compare notes at their annual Hilton Head Confab.

    Just imagine the chagrin of the Rich CEO’s if a Koch Brother type reveals they are wrenching three million dollars from Kansas for creating jobs in Canada and the Rich Boys come up empty of boasting rights.

    With the wealth they got its no longer the money. They haven’t developed any new real job growth in New York for decades but getting a good piece of that five billion New York settlement with earn them a Green Jacket and Head Table.

    Its a bigger score when they pick Andy’s pocket. They despise liberal types.