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Waynesboro businesses using downtown grants

December 20, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - In its effort to attract more businesses and people to downtown Waynesboro, Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. is offering downtown business incentive grants to encourage existing and new businesses in the borough.

The grants come through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, according to Carole Malin, manager of Mainstreet Waynesboro.

"(The grant) was obtained through the efforts of (state) Sen. Terry Punt for the revitalization of downtown Waynesboro," Malin said. "We initially received it in the summer of 2006 and then we received an extension for the grant so that we have until June 30, 2009 to spend the grant money."

Businesses that are eligible for the grant must have a storefront on Main Street in Waynesboro, between Clayton Avenue and Fairview Avenue, Malin said.

"A business must generate high foot traffic and must remain open until 8 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday," Malin said.

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Three businesses were approved for the grant in April 2007. They are Castle Fabrics and Home Decor, John Wallace Restaurant and Inn and Adventures in Coffee, which will open in January, Malin said.

"Castle Fabrics expanded the business and John Wallace Restaurant was a purchased building and they requested money for equipment," Malin said.

Adventures in Coffee requested money for rent and equipment purchase.

The total amount grant money from the department of community and economic development was $500,000, but since that time two businesses have received money from the grant.

Castle Fabrics and Home Decor and Adventures in Coffee receive money on a monthly basis, Malin said.

There is about $380,000 remaining in the grant fund, Malin said.

Malin said the grant committee, a five-member review committee, is also in the process of reviewing two additional grants and is recommending approval in January.

Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. makes the final decision in dispersing the grant money.

"Whoever submits an application for the grant must submit a business plan for the next three years as well as financial projections for the business," Malin said.

The grant is paid to businesses after they spend their money and turn in a receipt of their expenses, Malin said.

Candace Sonne, owner of Castle Fabrics and Home Decor, applied for the grant in March of 2007.

"It only took a week or two for approval," Sonne said. "We started expanding right away."

Castle Fabrics and Home Decor was able to double the size of its store with the help of the grant.

Expansions to the business included a new office, a kitchen, a full show room for blinds and shades, a full line of drapery products on the floor, a library of fabrics, displays for hardware and custom furniture displays. All were matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000, she said.

Sonne said the business would not have been expanded without the grant money, even though they could have afforded to.




Grant breakdown



The grant has three components:

The first is rent rebate, which lasts for three years. For the first year, the grant will provide a 100 percent rebate up to $1,000 per month. For the second year, the grant will provide a 66 percent rebate up to $660 per month. For the third year, the grant provides a 33 percent rent rebate up to $330 per month.

The second component is for build-out and equipment purchases. The grant provides a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50,000 for monies spent by an eligible business for any combination of rehab, build-out or equipment purchases for their business.

The third component of the grant is for purchase of property in which a one-time grant of up to $25,000 is given to a business for a purchase of a building. This is an alternative to a rent rebate. The business would have to be operated out of the building for at least three years.

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