LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced that 19 communities around Michigan have been awarded a total of $491,834 in grants aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns.
“Michigan’s unique downtowns are the heart of our communities, and with today’s Match on Main grants, we are helping small businesses in both peninsulas by investing in bustling commercial districts for people to visit, shop, and dine in, attracting more talent and new investments,” Whitmer said. “These grants will help our cities and towns continue to grow and thrive, building on our ongoing economic momentum. Currently, Michigan’s unemployment rate is 4.4% and we have experienced 11 straight months of job growth, adding 174,000 jobs year over year in March. We will keep our foot on the gas to grow our economy, create more jobs, and invest in small businesses.”
MEDC’s Match on Main (MoM) program provides funding to communities that participate as a select and master level community in the Michigan Main Street program or are a Certified Redevelopment Ready community. The communities, who receive the grant funding from the MEDC, in turn award grants of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses seeking support.
The grants are expected to create or retain 135 full-time jobs, and the projects are expected to generate a total private investment of more than $2.9 million.
“Thriving small businesses are the cornerstone of what makes Michigan’s downtowns unique and authentic while helping to create economic opportunity across the state,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “With the support of the Match on Main program, we can help local businesses grow and create jobs, while further developing vibrant and attractive places where people want to live, work, visit and play.”
Grants may be used by the business for eligible expenses that support technical assistance, interior building renovations, permanent or semi-permanent activation of an outdoor space, permanent or semi-permanent business infrastructure related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, and other working capital needs such as marketing needs and inventory expenses. Additional needs identified by the business and supported by the local community are also considered.
The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority will use its $25,000 to support Northern Blooms Montessori, a community-centric early childhood program that is committed to providing a quality Montessori environment built on an equity-focused financial structure.
The Match on Main (MoM) grant will assist the Northern Blooms team in completing the design and buildout of its two classrooms to create the unique Montessori environment necessary for launching a new infant and toddler-focused program.
“Collaboration on this work with partners like the DDA and others community members is essential to our program. We’re fortunate to be tenant-owners of our space inside the new Commongrounds real estate cooperative project, so shared value and community well-being are part of the DNA of this program—there’s been a huge shared effort to bring this program as far as it is and it will continue to be a critical component of the success of the program over time,” said Principal Design Strategist at Further Degree and Northern Blooms Project Facilitator Kate Robinson. “Childcare is critical infrastructure and we’re excited to chart new paths with local partners that care about this community as much as we do.”
The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) was awarded $25,000 to assist Elda’s restaurant in purchasing kitchen equipment to make sure the restaurant can operate efficiently and safely.
“Collaboration with local partners within our community is very important to us. Our family has lived and worked in Southwest Detroit for generations. Detroit is home, and with all of the renewed interest in the area we are excited about the potential,” said Elda’s owners Emilio Feliciano and Elda Castellanos. “Without the help from Match on Main, our business wouldn’t be possible.”
SDBA is also supporting Elda, who previously owned El Comal restaurant, and Emilio with a Kresge Innovative Projects:Detroit grant, an SDBA-Mexicantown Façade Matching Grant, and with their application to the DEGC Motor City Match, as well as with technical assistance and mentorship, according to SDBA Director of Business Development Myrna Segura and SDBA Real Estate Advocate Greg Mangan.
“Elda Castellanos and her family previously had a beloved restaurant for years in Southwest Detroit named El Comal,” said SDBA Real Estate Advocate Greg Mangan. “Residents and patrons have missed her amazing food and restaurant’s atmosphere. The new restaurant, Elda’s, will be a place that the neighborhood recognizes, enjoys, and feels welcomed in, while enjoying her delicious food again.”
“Elda opened her first restaurant back in 1991, and her main purpose was to educate people about the Latin/Hispanic food that our SWD-Mexicantown community has to offer,” said SDBA Director of Business Development Myrna Segura. “Grant funds are critical to filling in gaps in funding these small business construction projects because of rising construction costs and inability to get traditional loans from banks for their build-out. The Match on Main grant has been awarded at the perfect time, to see Elda’s and Emilio’s dream of opening their new business a reality.”
In December 2021, MEDC announced that 28 communities around Michigan were awarded a total of $1 million in grants aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns around Michigan. A total of 41 small businesses around Michigan received assistance through the program.