Missouri cake business awarded $50K in CARES Act relief, then ‘grant rescinded’

Mid-South

FLORISSANT, Mo. (KTVI) — A wedding cake business that was awarded $50,000 in CARES Act funding from the state of Missouri, found out Monday it is not going to get any of the money.

Wedding Wonderland in Florissant, Mo., has created wedding cakes for 35 years and Michael Temm has owned the business for 25 of them.

Before the pandemic hit, Temm told NewsNation affiliate KTVI-TV that his bakery would typically average about 40 to 50 wedding cakes a week. This week, the bakery had orders for only 13 small wedding cakes.

Temm started applying for grants. In September, he got the notice that Wedding Wonderland had been awarded a $50,0000 grant from the state.

“Getting this letter changed my world. It changed the way I thought,” he said. “We had hope we were going to be able to make it.”

Temm changed up his business plan. They would start making smaller cakes, cupcakes and cake pops. In order to fulfill the grant, he had to provided receipts for what he had to buy. He bought coolers for all of the smaller products.

On Monday, Temm received a letter that said: “Grant Rescinded.”

It stated, “Your business does not fall within the Round 1 industry classifications, which focused on awards for retailers, accommodations, foodservice or health care.”

Temm said he doesn’t understand why his business was ineligible. He said Wedding Wonderland is classified as a restaurant, which is under the foodservice category.

KTVI-TV asked the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) why the grant was rescinded and how often this happens.

Missouri DED responded:

“In reviewing supporting documentation submitted to the Department by the more than 3,000 CARES Act program applicants, the Department found 98 applicants were sent approval letters despite not being eligible for the first round of the Small Business Grant. In fairness to everyone who applied, we had to notify these business owners that they were not eligible for funding. No funds were distributed to any ineligible businesses, but we recognize that this error worsened an already difficult situation. We sincerely apologize for our mistake. We are in the process of responding to applicant feedback, and will be reviewing this business’s application.”

For now, Temm doesn’t know where he goes from here or what options he has left.

KTVI again asked the DED why Wedding Wonderland was ineligible for the grant under the foodservice category. A spokesperson said they will review Temm’s application and will be in touch with him to follow up.

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