Modified: February 7, 2023 4:12pm
Small businesses across Erie County are revitalizing and modernizing their storefronts to drive foot traffic, increase business and energize local business districts with assistance from a $10 million Erie County RENEW Plan investment announced by Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz at his 2022 State of the County address. The objective of the Storefront Revitalization Program is to provide grant funds to eligible businesses throughout Erie County that may have lost revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting them with exterior façade upgrades and improvements that will help to attract new customers, business and revenue. 260 local businesses in 39 municipalities across the county have been approved for grant funding with many of them already beginning architectural consulting and work.
“Erie County’s small business community employs hundreds of thousands of residents and is an economic engine for our community. We endured the pandemic together are now investing in our small businesses, with $10 million allocated to reinvigorate your storefronts and generate business with increased foot traffic,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “In response to the pandemic my administration allocated $20 million in critically-needed Back to Business grants to directly assist small businesses and also led the charge in the hugely successful Shop 716 campaign, generating millions in sales for local small businesses. This Storefront Revitalization Program is our latest investment to build business and our community by helping store owners improve their facilities and attract new customers.”
Poloncarz was joined today at Nick’s Place Express restaurant on Elmwood Avenue in Kenmore by Erie County legislator Michael Kooshoian (3rd District) and other county legislators, Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Dan Castle along with departmental staff, and the owner of Nick’s Place Express, Nick Anandiadis, to discuss the program. Anandiadis received a storefront revitalization grant and today saw a rendering of what his storefront will look like when work is completed.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community,” said Erie County Legislator Mike Kooshoian. “As a new county legislator, I am proud to see the success of this most recent initiative. I intend to work closely with my colleagues in the legislature and County Executive Poloncarz to develop new programs to support local businesses owners and entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Nick Anandiadis on receiving the grant. I look forward to seeing the improvements take shape in the coming months.”
“I was proud to cast my vote last year to establish the Storefront Revitalization Program,” said Erie County Legislator John Bargnesi. “Because as the owner of a small business, I can appreciate the struggles they face. I want to thank the County Executive and his team in Environment and Planning for shepherding this process. These grants will not only benefit the men and women who own these businesses, but for the communities in which they reside. Rising tides lift all boats, and this will be a shot in the arm to main streets and business districts throughout Erie County.”
Of the 260 grant awardees, 98 are in the City of Buffalo while 5 are in the City of Tonawanda and 5 are in the City of Lackawanna. 80 small businesses in 23 Erie County towns are receiving grants, as are 74 businesses located in 13 villages. Funding awards will vary up to the maximum $40,000 limit. The business owner is responsible for all costs in excess of $40,000 or their awarded allocation.
In order to be eligible for the program, businesses must have less than $5 million in annual revenue, have 75 or fewer employees and be commercially-zoned properties. They must have a business license/permit and be a C-corp, S-corp, LLC, Partnership, or sole proprietorship and provide proof of a business license or permit.
Eligible revitalization activities include the repair, replacement and/or installation of existing building façade material (siding, brick/masonry repair, etc.), awnings, signage, window and door treatments, roof replacement, and lighting. Permanent outdoor fixtures such as planters, benches, and bike racks are also eligible. Grounds improvements such as paving and landscaping may be eligible if they are incidental to the main rehab work to the building façade. Eligible activities also include items necessary to insure building compliance with federal Americans With Disabilities (“ADA”) regulations as well as with the Architectural Barriers Act.
Erie County Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Dan Castle added, “Investing in storefront revitalization not only benefits the small business, but it helps to reinvigorate and revitalize the streetscape which further attracts customers to nearby businesses and enhances the character of the surrounding neighborhood.”
Certified minority, women and service-disabled veteran business owners were given special consideration on their project applications. Funds are paid directly to project construction contractor(s) once the project work has been completed and all work has been certified and approved by the architect assigned to each project.
For more information:
On the Department of Environment & Planning, visit https://www3.erie.gov/environment/
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