Rental subsidies available for small businesses to move into downtowns

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 April 2016 at 12:00 am

$4,500 max to rent storefronts in Albion, Holley, Lyndonville and Medina

Photo by Tom Rivers – Diane Blanchard, director of the Microenterprise Assistance Program, will manage $60,000 in downtown rental subsidies, plus $100,000 in grants available for small businesses. She is pictured on Main Street in Albion.

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency has money to entice businesses to move into the downtown business districts in Albion, Holley, Lyndonville and Medina.

The EDA’s local development corporation voted Thursday to make $60,000 available in the next two years for downtown rental subsidies. Businesses can seek $3 per square foot annually if they move into the downtown. The EDA is capping the subsidies at $4,500 a year, the maximum for a 1,500 square foot space.

They subsidies aren’t available to businesses currently in the downtown. The funding comes from a $200,000 state grant approved for the EDA last December. The EDA also has $100,000 in grants to share with small businesses (5 or fewer employees) that need working capital, equipment purchases or inventory. The grants are capped at $15,000 per recipient.

Those grants are targeted for businesses that completed the Microenterprise Assistance Program, which offers small business training. However, the EDA will consider start-up businesses and other small businesses that didn’t go through the EDA, said Jim Whipple, the EDA executive director.

The EDA ran a similar grant program about five years ago and gave $20,004 to help businesses with their rent, including seven in Medina, four in Albion and two in Holley. The subsidies then were capped at $3,000 per recipient.

Blanchard said the program should result in new commercial activity in vacant storefronts.

She is on a committee to decide the funding along with Whipple, and three members of the EDA’s Finance Committee.

The grant from the state also provides $40,000 to the EDA to administer the funding.

The EDA runs the MAP program providing small business training in a 10-week class. The spring class just started last week and includes 15 entrepreneurs.

For more on the EDA, click here.