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Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund

April 7, 2022 - 3:17pm

Business owners on the receiving end of the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund grant program say they are thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

The Batavian reached out today to several of the 22 for-profit businesses that will share $875,000 from the initial round of the program, which is supported by a New York State Community Development Block Grant and facilitated by the Genesee County Economic Development Center and The Harrison Studio.

The complete list of recipients was published first by The Batavian yesterday. Another round of funding is possible, according to GCEDC Marketing Director Jim Krencik.

Two business owners and a manager of a third company responded to requests for comments about the program, and what has been and what is to come at their locations.

MARIAN PAUTLER
THE SPA AT ARTEMIS
206 EAST MAIN ST., BATAVIA

The $65,000 grant awarded to The Spa at Artemis will enable the full service spa to keep growing, Pautler said.

“I have quite a big vision for what I want this business to turn into and this is going to help propel us in that direction,” she said.

When she purchased the spa in June 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had just taken hold and many businesses were forced to close or drastically reduce hours and services.

“They (the previous owners) were considering closing and at the time, I was pregnant and was nervous about finding a new job,” said Pautler, a licensed massage therapist. “I kind of figured if there was ever a time to take a leap like this, that was it.”

Pautler said 2020 was a rough year, mentioning that exposure to the virus forced a two-week shutdown and left her as the only employee available to work (since she was away from the office to give birth).

“After that, we had a partial ceiling collapse, which has been fixed. So, 2020 was really just kind of wild,” she offered. “Since then, we have done a lot of cosmetic updates. And with this grant, we're hoping to replace some existing equipment and really just kind of like elevate the culture of the spa. And we plan to bring on some new staff members.”

Pautler said she doesn’t foresee any problems filling new positions due to “an unmet demand for services.”

SANDY CHAPPIUS
CHAP’S ELBA DINER
5 SOUTH MAIN ST., ELBA

With 18 to 20 employees and even more in the summer, Chappius said she will follow the guidelines of the grant – she received $50,000 – by hiring more people with the goal of expanding the diner’s healthy meals program in conjunction with www.macyparadisefit/meals.

“We have been working with a nutritionist to provide healthy meals, and after starting with 20 or 30 a week, right now we’re up to 300 to 350 a week,” she said. “It’s home-cooked good food that we normally do here, we just portion it and make sure all the micros are correct.”

Chappius said that was one of the criteria she used on her application for the grant – that she would be adding employees to grow the healthy meals venture.

She said she has benefitted both financially and physically, mentioning that she has lost 83 pounds on the nutritional program since November.

Furthermore, Chappius said some of the grant will be used for advertising to increase sales and get the word out to her “loyal customers.”

“We’re very lucky here at the diner because we have a lot of loyal customers that got us through COVID,” she said. “The month that we were closed, we sold hundreds of chicken (barbecue) dinners through the window … and we were so blessed.”

“We’re just so blessed here in this small town. I’m just so glad to have landed here because the customers have been terrific in how they have supported us.”

Chappius also had kind words for Michael Zimmerman of The Harrison Studio, coordinator of the grant program,

“Mr. Zimmerman was just wonderful to work with after I applied, and the application was very clear to read,” she said. “And when I had some questions, I emailed him and he immediately -- the same day -- turned my questions into answers.”

CHRISTINA FETZER
OPERATIONS MANAGER
ALLEGHANY FARM SERVICES, ALABAMA

Finding the best employees is key for Alleghany Services, a leader in the farm drainage industry for more than 30 years.

“For us, training is a huge investment, especially because the drainage work that we do is such a specialty,” Fetzer said. “With the ($60,000) grant, we’re going to use it for new hires.”

She explained that some of the pieces of equipment used by the company can take six months for a new employee to learn how to operate it.

“So, we're going to use all the funds to invest in new operators and get some fresh talent as we grow our number of drainage crews,” Fetzer said. “Hopefully, the grant will come right around the same time when the high schools are letting out. And we've had great luck in the past getting fresh, young talent right out of high school.

“Some of our best hires, we've actually hired right out of high school and they’re going on year five or six now. They started green and they’ve worked their way up in the company since.”

Fetzer said Alleghany’s customers will benefit from the grant as well.

“We’re very excited. Our customers have already seen an increase through COVID. With the price of pipe gong up over 40 percent since the beginning, this will allow us to hire more employees and with that we can keep the costs down for farmers.”

April 6, 2022 - 8:24pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund, GCEDC.

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Twenty-two small businesses in Genesee County will be splitting a pool of $875,000 through the first round of the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund initiative set up to help for-profit ventures with 25 or fewer employees recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Batavian obtained the list of businesses today in advance of a press release scheduled to go out on Thursday from the Genesee County Economic Development Center. The GCEDC, in conjunction with Michael Zimmerman of The Harrison Studio, is facilitating the program that is bolstered by a Community Development Block Grant of up to $1 million.

“The project applications were considered on a first-come, first-served, so we had a tremendous response in the business community,” said Jim Krencik, GCEDC marketing director. “There was definitely a need -- based on the negative impacts we had from COVID in 2020.

“It was encouraging to see that many businesses did pick up in 2021. But as we look towards 2022 and hopefully a strong overall recovery this summer, helping these business accelerate their plans is a very rewarding experience. Most critically, it’s about the impact it will have on these businesses.”

Awards range from $10,000 to $75,000, and are predicated upon adding full-time equivalent jobs and/or meeting established income guidelines, Krencik said.

“Basically, if you're able to have one FTE (full-time equivalent job), you are eligible for up to $25,000; two, you are eligible for up to $50,000 and three, you are eligible for up to $75,000,” Krencik explained. “But there were also cases where a company had under five employees, and the owners of the company could get up to $25,000 without directly having to add a job because they were supporting a workforce and meeting income guidelines.”

The initial grantees and their awards are as follows:

  • First Wave Technology, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Sweet Betty’s, Le Roy, $20,000.
  • Pro Construction, Bergen, $25,000;
  • Red Roof Inn, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Terry Hills Restaurant, Batavia, $75,000;
  • LaQuinta, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Hodgins Engraving, Batavia, $60,000;
  • Rivers Performance, Batavia, $10,000;
  • Chap’s Elba Diner, Elba, $50,000;
  • Craft Cannery, Bergen, $60,000;
  • Sikes Enterprises, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Caryville Inn, Oakfield, $25,000;
  • Center Street Smokehouse, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Smokin’ Eagle BBQ, Le Roy, $50,000;
  • John’s Service, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Alleghany Services, Alabama, $60,000;
  • Eden Café, Batavia, $25,000;
  • Copperhead Creek Bar, Batavia, $75,000;
  • Byron Hotel & Trailhouse, Byron, $50,000;
  • Empire Hemp, Batavia, $15,000;
  • Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Byron, $60,000;
  • The Spa at Artemis, Batavia, $65,000.

Contacted tonight, Genesee County Manager Matt Landers said he is pleased that his office and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce were able to work with the Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp. (an arm of the GCEDC) to provide capital to these businesses.

“This is a great example of local officials working together to develop a program that delivers resources to local businesses,” Landers said. “Working collaboratively, we were able to identify outside funding, develop a program that qualifies for said funding and implement a program that delivers resources while complying with the various funding rules and regulations.”

Krencik said seven other projects were deemed eligible but came in too late for this round. He said those seven businesses are at the top of the list “for any additional or unexpended funds that would be coming, either from projects that aren’t expending the entirety of their grant or if we are successful in getting additional funding for this program.

“However, we are aware that it'll be very competitive as many communities are pursuing second rounds of funding as well.”

Previously: Genesee CARES officials report that 12 businesses have applied for pandemic-related relief thus far

March 2, 2022 - 5:35pm

A dozen businesses, seeking more than $500,000 in assistance, have applied thus far for financial assistance through the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund -- the new program that is providing up to $75,000 to small businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jim Krencik, marketing director for the Genesee County Economic Development Center, and Michael Zimmerman of The Harrison Studio, which is overseeing the initiative, updated Genesee County legislators today at their Ways & Means Committee meeting at the Old County Courthouse.

Supported by a $1 million Community Development Block Grant, the program has been created to help businesses with 25 or fewer employees that were hurt by the pandemic to receive grants of up to $75,000. Eligible applicants are for-profit ventures within Genesee County with 25 or fewer employees.

Krencik said the 12 businesses that filled out application forms – which can be found at www.geneseecares.com – have asked for $550,000 in relief.

“If they’re all viable, we’re not sure yet,” he said, while encouraging business owners who have completed applications to follow up to make sure everything is in order.

He added that applications are taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

A crucial element to the process is that these businesses have to add at least one full-time equivalent job.

“Adding one FTE is a large increase (for small businesses),” he said. “Our goal is to have 20 to 40 businesses supported. If we get more, we could apply for additional funding.”

Krencik said businesses can apply for funds in any or all of four categories.

Those categories are as follows:

  • Employment Restoration and Job Hiring -- Businesses will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $25,000 per full-time equivalent job position created, restored, or retained, up to a maximum of $60,000.
  • Outdoor Dining Development -- Businesses will eligible to receive up to $50,000 in grants to facilitate outdoor dining enhancements. Eligible activities include professional and soft costs, furniture, and equipment, and working capital expenses related to expanding, installing, or improving outdoor dining and gathering spaces. Construction or renovation costs will not be eligible.
  • Working Capital -- Businesses will be eligible to receive a maximum of $50,000 of grant funds to be used to assist with working capital expenditures (such as payroll, marketing, rent, utilities, etc.) for businesses that can demonstrate the impact of COVID has put a strain on their cash flow which cannot be met through other funding sources.
  • Business Resiliency -- Businesses will be eligible to receive grants of up to $25,000 to support small business efforts to respond to the pandemic. Funds will be used for projects such as developing safety and resiliency plans, purchasing PPE, installing touchless point-of-sale systems, and other improvements to allow for social distances and all businesses to operate safely.

Zimmerman, responding to a question from Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein about agricultural-related enterprises, said that as long as the business meets the requirements (for profit and 25 or fewer employees), they should be eligible.

“The use of the funds is a pretty broad net,” he said, “and cover most business needs. I imagine (that a farming business) could find working capital needs to which to apply the grant funds.”

To be considered for the first round of approvals, applications must be submitted no later than March 9.

In related action, the Ways & Means Committee approved a resolution to create a line item in the county's budget to reimburse eligible expenses.

February 23, 2022 - 11:44am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund.

You own a restaurant with 15 employees and you had to reduce your hours of operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a 20 percent loss of revenue in 2020.

Or, maybe you’re the owner of a small retail store with three part-time employees and you had to drastically reduce hours due to the coronavirus and also experienced a loss in revenue in 2020 that exceeded annual payroll expense (combined, the three employees work 40 hours per week, equaling one full-time equivalent position).

These are just two scenarios where the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund could provide much-needed assistance as the business sector looks to bounce back from the pandemic.

Michael Zimmerman of The Harrison Studio, which is overseeing the program, provided these examples to give business owners a clearer picture of what Genesee CARES is all about.

In a nutshell, businesses that were hurt by COVID-19 will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $75,00 to aid in their recovery. Eligible applicants are for-profit ventures within Genesee County with 25 or fewer employees.

In the first scenario, the restaurant plans to expand its outdoor dining and also has to increase staff in order to re-open to regular daily hours. The owner also intends to hire six part-time servers, all working 20-plus hours per week.

As a result, the restaurant owner applies to Genesee CARES for a $75,000 grant, with $60,000 of it to be used to assist with company payroll expenses and $15,000 to assist with purchasing new furniture and accessories for outdoor dining.

Upon grant approval, the owner makes eligible purchases, incurs payroll costs, and creates six part-time job positions over the next 90 days and submits cost documentation for reimbursement.

In the second scenario, the store owner has working capital needs to continue to market and promote the business as well as purchase additional inventory, and also plans to retain the three existing employees.

The store owner applies to Genesee CARES for a $25,000 working capital grant and the three employees fill out a Family Income Form and it is determined that all three employees are considered low-to-moderate income.

As a result, the store can proceed with an application for a $25,000 working capital grant on the condition that it retains the three low-to-moderate income employees, equating to retaining one full-time position.

To further explain the process of obtaining money from the $1 million Community Development Block Grant initiative, two informational meetings via Zoom have been scheduled. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding eligibility, funding, program requirements, COVID impacts, and more.

  • The first informational meeting is set for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Video Conferencing: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86560090929

Audio Conferencing: Dial 1-929-205-6099, Webinar ID: 865 6009 0929

  • The second informational meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. March 2.

Video Conferencing: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83846902808

Audio Conferencing: Dial 1-929-205-6099, Webinar ID: 838 4690 2808

CLICK HERE to go to the Genesee CARES website to review eligibility and requirements for the grant. A fillable application is available for download at the website.

To be considered for the first round of approvals, applications must be submitted no later than March 9.

February 21, 2022 - 9:35pm
posted by Press Release in Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund, news, COVID-19.

Press release:

Genesee County officials will host a pair of informational meetings via Zoom to assist businesses looking to apply to the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding eligibility, funding, program requirements, COVID impacts, and more.

Through the Genesee CARES Business Recovery Fund, businesses that were negatively impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible to receive a grant of up to $75,000 to aid the recovery of their businesses.  Eligible applicants are for-profit businesses within Genesee County with 25 or fewer employees.

The meetings to be held virtually through Zoom are scheduled for:

Businesses are encouraged to visit www.GeneseeCARES.com to review eligibility and requirements for the grant. A fillable application is available for download at the website.

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