• Memphis EDGE board approves tax breaks for Chinese based e-commerce company

    By: Kirstin Garriss


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A Chinese based e-commerce company is one step closer to bringing its newest distribution center to Memphis.

    The EDGE board approved a 10-year fast track PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of-taxes) to encourage Cherry Tree International, Corporation to expand at 3955 East Holmes Road.

    The company specializes in pet products, sporting goods and furniture and works with companies like Amazon and EBay.

    Cherry Tree International has plans to create 25 new jobs. Two of those positions are for managers making $55,000 a year with benefits. The rest are warehouse jobs making less than $30,000 a year with benefits.

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    These salaries meet the EDGE board's minimum standards for a PILOT, which is offering wages at $13 per hour with company subsidized healthcare benefits.

    Cherry Tree International is the U.S. subsidiary of Shanghai Lowen Group, which made more than $60 million in revenue last year. 

    FOX13 asked EDGE why salaries weren't higher for the warehouse positions. 

    "Well, companies can always do more and ultimately the market will drive that. But again, we have our policy in place so that we try to treat everyone the same. We don't treat certain companies one way and certain companies another way," said Reid Dulberger, president and CEO of EDGE. 

    The EDGE board chairman said he wants to reevaluate current standards for wages on PILOT applicants. 

    Some poverty experts question whether these kinds of jobs will support Memphians.

    "Are those jobs that will allow people to continue growing and get increases in wages and opportunities that they need to move out of poverty and remain out of poverty? I'm very concerned that a lot of the jobs coming to Memphis are warehouse jobs," said Dr. Elena Delavega, associate professor at the University of Memphis.

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