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Six local businesses to share $175,000 from town’s new microenterprise grant

Dan McClelland

Town Supervisor Patricia Littlefield at this month's regular town board meeting announced the winning businesses in the town’s $200,000 microenterprise grant program.
The Housing and Urban Development grant provides grants of up to $35,000 for successful commercial applicants to expand and improve their business.  The new grant program is administered by the Saranac Lake-based Adirondack Economic Development Corp., which also guided a similar village microenterprise grant program three years ago.
A requirement of the program is that successful applicants must invest 10% of the award amount and agree to hire at least one new employee.  The money can be used for advertising, investment in the business and its inventory but not building purchases or renovations.  Successful applicants were required to take a course developed by the AEDC in business management.
The winners in this grant were the Red Top Motel at Moody. Another grant recipient this time is the Hub owned by Cherie and Daniel Whitten which is currently situated in the former CJ’s Tavern building.  That company has plans to relocate to the former Park Restaurant building at 320 Park Street.  Those two businesses will each receive $30,000 through the program.
A winner of $25,000 was Neil and Linda Pickering’s Pickering’s Holdings which owns Mt. Market and Redemption Center on the western edge of the village.
Mark Jessie and Joe Hockey, co-owners of the Raquette River Brewing on Balsam add won $30,000 to be used towards their company’s recently announced expansion.
The final two $30,000 grant recipients were Well Dressed Foodto permit it to purchase a new van for catering events and occasions outside their Park Street headquarters and Corey and Lilian Rohrbach (KKR LLC), who operate Amatos Bistro and Deli at the corner of Cliff Ave. and Lake Street and who are investing in new equipment and refrigerated display cases.
The applications for the grants were weighed by a town committee of local business people created by the town board.
“The town board didn’t make the awards,” the supervisor reported at the March 9 meeting.  The selections were made by the committee and the AEDC advisors, based on a scoring system, she explained.  The scoring system used was “economically development-based,” including how many new jobs would be created in the respective businesses, the supervisor added.
She estimated the grant would create eight new full-time and six new part-time jobs in Tupper Lake.
The first draw-downs on the grant awards are expected this month.
The supervisor noted there were about a dozen applicants for the grant program this round.
The balance of the grant money- $25,000- will be paid to AEDC for its administration of the grant program for the town.