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Area small businesses use social media to pursue grant funds

June 28, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Zoe and Pantelis Tsoukatos, two of the three siblings, who own Zoe's Chocolate are shown in their store at 34 E. Main St in Waynesboro, Pa.
Photo by Roxann Miller

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Several area businesses are trying to secure a $250,000 small business grant using social media.

The grant program sponsored by Chase Bank USA and Living Social Inc. supports small businesses across the country, according to the program website.

The contest kicked off May 7 and closes at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

Chase has designated between $1 million and $3 million to be awarded to at least four businesses and as many as 12 businesses with each grant recipient receiving $250,000, the website rules stated.

After a business owner submits their application, the rest depends on their social media skills to secure 250 votes before midnight on Saturday to be eligible for the grant money.

One of the local leaders in the competition is Zoe’s Chocolate at 34 E. Main St., Waynesboro.

So far, the local maker of artisan chocolates has secured 445 votes – more than enough to be considered for a $250,000 grant.

That’s no small feat since Zoe’s Chocolates only began the voting process on Tuesday.

The next step is that a panel of business experts judges eligible applicants.

Zoe’s Chocolate Co. is up against thousands of small businesses from across the country, but Zoe Tsoukatos, part-owner along with her brothers Pantelis and Petros Tsoukatos, is optimistic.

She’s already contemplated some of the ways to use the grant money.

“We need outside help with building the company — doing the wholesale, talking to our current customers and doing shows. And we’d like to expand. Our machines are very expensive,” Tsoukatos said.

The downtown business would like to invest in more green solutions and implement a wind energy program, she said.

But, no matter what happens with the grant, Tsoukatos is thrilled by the support she has received.

“One of the reasons we opened up in Waynesboro is because we knew we would have the support from what we like to say is our extended family. It’s just touching to be part of a community like Waynesboro,” she said.

Other businesses in the Tri-State area that have received 250 votes and are eligible for the $250,000 grants include:

• Olivia’s Doll Closet, 19225 Cranberry Court in Hagerstown

• Tuscarora Mountain Winery, 25 Lincoln Way West in Chambersburg Pa.

• Flopsy Parker Memorial Sanctuary/Baskets for Bunnies, Inc., 161 Sharons Lane in Martinsburg, W.Va.

To vote, go to www.missionsmallbusiness.com and log in using Facebook. Search for the business you like and click “VOTE.”

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