A distressed-looking small business can be a real detractor in a commercial neighborhood. Unfortunately, expensive repairs and aesthetic enhancements are often times too expensive for business/building owners to consider.
For that reason, and others, shopfronts (facades and interiors) sometimes don’t get the love that they need, or deserve, which in turn sends a message to customers that there’s something wrong. And when one or two small businesses suffer, due to lack of investments, entire commercial districts suffer. This, in turn, adversely affects surrounding neighborhoods.
In order to assist small businesses with the repairs and rejuvenations that they require, Erie County has provided hundreds of owners with relief via its Storefront Revitalization grant program. To that end, Erie County is investing $15 million over a two-year period, to assist with sprucing up their curb appeal – a task that many cannot afford to do on their own.
County officials have announced that, altogether, 115 local small businesses will receive funding from the second round of awards, as part of the strategic Storefront Revitalization grant program. This funding is thanks to an additional $5 million that was added to the program in April, 2023. The new wave of grant recipients will be contacted now that funding has become available.
In the first round of funding, approximately 56 businesses had their storefronts fully completed while another 155 are currently underway in some fashion, according to Erie County officials.
For a list of the Round 1 awarded storefronts by municipality, click HERE.
For a list of the Round 2 awarded storefronts by municipality, click HERE.
To view the County-wide map of the Round 1 awarded storefronts, click HERE.
To view the County-wide map of the Round 2 awarded storefronts, click HERE.
To announce the results of the program, and what people can expect to see over the course of the two-year period, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by various members of the Erie County Legislature, including Legislator John Gilmour (9th District) and Legislator Tim Meyers (7th District), along with Daniel Castle, the commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning, and Tuona Batchelor, Director of the Office of Economic Development.
Last year, Erie County received 678 applications from qualifying businesses.
Together, the public officials pointed to significant renovations at Park Edge Sweet Shoppe, located at 325 Abbott Road in South Buffalo. Round 1 program funding – administered by The Department of Environment and Planning – provided $40,000 to enhance the storefront.
Work (ongoing) conducted on the Park Edge Sweet Shoppe storefront, and along the exterior of the building include:
Painting the structure
Installing eye-appealing planters
Erection of a new storefront sign
Concrete repair and replacement
Weathertight construction upgrades
“Erie County continues to invest in local small business with programs like the Storefront Revitalization grant program and the results are great to see. By increasing curb appeal, we are helping them to increase foot traffic in an effort to retain longtime patrons while also drawing in new customers. It’s incredible to see what a significant upgrade and transformation of a business such as we see here will do for a particular neighborhood,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I want to thank the Erie County Legislature for their continued support of this grant program, which has become quite popular with businesses throughout the county. These strategic investments in our community benefit business owners and their customers.”
Margaret Mulvaney, who along with her sister Anna Hartog owns and operates Park Edge Sweet Shoppe, said, “We are so very grateful to have been a recipient of the Erie County Storefront Revitalization grant. The support provided by this incredible program has helped us complete some exciting aesthetic improvement projects and also makes the neighborhood we are so proud to be a part of look more lively and vibrant.”
Anna Hartog said, “Our level of excitement from being awarded the grant funding cannot be accurately measured because we are incredibly enthused at the potential this has to attract brand new customers to Park Edge Sweet Shoppe.”
“The Storefront Revitalization grant program has been incredibly well-received, and the public benefits are evident in communities and streetscapes all across Erie County,” said Tuona Batchelor. “Each individual business is unique and our end goal is to make sure each owner is pleased with the results of the work that should result in supporting Erie County’s thriving economy.”
For more information on the Department of Environment and Planning, visit www3.erie.gov/environment.
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