$10K-$15K grants give several small businesses a chance to upgrade equipment
The Orleans Economic Development Agency has given several small business owners a chance to upgrade equipment through a state grant.
The Orleans EDA received a state grant to assist small businesses about two years. The local agency has awarded 11 grants from $10,000 to $15,000 for $135,000 total.
All of the grant recipients needed to complete the 10-week small business training program – the Microenterprise Assistance Program – run by the EDA.
The EDA set a $10,000 maximum for existing businesses and $15,000 for new enterprises.
“This has been the best part of my job, getting them funding,” said Diana Blanchard, the MAP coordinator who has been overseeing the grant program. “It’s been very rewarding because there is so little help for small businesses.”
The EDA has used up the funds for the grants. It initially expected it had $100,000 for grants, but was able to push it to $135,000 total.
Kevin Gursslin was able to use $10,000 for Kustom Kreations, which does screen printing for T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets, and other products.
Gursslin, owner of the business with his wife Patty, upgraded his graphics software, the oven to dry the printing, and added a 4-color press.
Gursslin graduated from MAP about 15 years ago when he opened Orleans Outdoor in downtown Medina. He has shifted the focus of the business from sporting goods to printing – and changed the name to Kustom Kreations.
Gursslin has “endured the highs and lows of the economy,” with the toughest challenge the disruption caused by the Main Street road reconstruction about a decade ago.
“We’ve found ways to keep moving,” he said.
The business added sublimation printing three years ago and now “a ton of coffee mugs” and mouse pads.
Gursslin said the EDA grant takes some financial pressure off the business so it could upgrade and continue to serve customers.
Blanchard said Gursslin has proven himself in the 15 years of running the business, showing he is willing to adapt and serve his customers.
“Kevin has worked so hard,” Blanchard said.
The EDA also approved a $15,000 for Kylie Hughson, who opened a hair salon, Tease, on East Bank Street.
Hughson, 28, said the grant allowed her to speed up her business goals. She was able to purchase three stations with cabinets and chairs. The grant also paid for a reception desk, computer, printer, and products and inventory so Hughson could expand beyond hair services to pedicures and spray tans.
Hughson is looking to hire a nail technician. She also used her own funds to put in tanning bed.
She said her business is much farther along than she expected when she opened about a year ago.
“It’s definitely helped my business,” Hughson said. “I’ve grown a lot in the past year. I have a lot more to offer.”
Other businesses that received EDA grants include:
• The Shirt Factory Café, $10,000
• Sugar’s Shears for the Sweetest Pets, $15,000
• Cobble Ridge Co-Op, $10,000
• Sue the Sew it All, $10,000
• Make It Take It Experiences, $15,000
• 810 Meadworks, $10,000
• The Missing Peace, $10,000
• Holley Bottle and Can Return, $15,000
• Preston’s Farms, $15,000