MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – It’s National Small Business Week, and the Morris County Board of County Commissioners is observing the annual event by personally delivering checks to small businesses and nonprofits who qualified for grants of up to $15,000 under the Morris County Small Business Grant Program.
Mara’s Café & Bakery at 23 Main St., Denville and the Police Athletic League of Parsippany-Troy Hills Township were visited earlier today and issued checks under a program designed to help small businesses and nonprofits cope with some of the setbacks caused by the pandemic.
“It’s definitely worth it,” said Allison Kohler at Mara’s, after getting a check for more than $9,000.
Commissioners Deborah Smith and Thomas Mastrangelo presented the grant after touring her bakery and interviewing her about her experience applying for the grant.
“It was some of the best customer service I ever had, and you don’t expect that from government. Honestly, it was a process, but (the customer service representative) held my hand every step of the way,” Kohler said.
Her bakery suffered business losses and difficulty maintaining personnel, but she is hopeful the business will survive as her unique offerings of bakery goods keep customers returning.
The Parsippany PAL, in operation since 1966, has been staple as a community center in the township, but was forced to close through 2020. After partially opening last year, the PAL is back in action this year.
Executive Director Samuel Yodice was joined by Controller Debra Golle, Program Coordinator Ashley Garofalo and Peggy Clayton, Vice President of the PAL board, in accepting a $15,000 check from Commissioner Douglas Cabana at the Baldwin Road PAL Club. Parsippany Mayor Jamie Barberio joined the event with Council President Michael dePierro, Council Vice President Loretta Gragnani and Councilman Justin Musella.
Also attending were Dee dePierro, Superintendent of Recreation Joe Plescia, who also sits on the PAL National Board of Directors, Police Capt. Brian Dowd and Patrolman Remo D’Alessandro, the township community relations officer.
More grants will be delivered this week and next week, and many more are being mailed.
The Morris County Small Business program, launched on Valentine’s Day under the slogan “Morris County Loves Small Business,” has received over 575 applications to date, with many already approved and most others still under review.
The Commissioners dedicated $10 million to the effort.
Most of applications heading for final approval will provide each of the qualified businesses and nonprofits the maximum grant amount of $15,000. While the remaining applications are still being reviewed, the program remains open to new applications. Businesses as well as non-profits are urged to take advantage of the grant offer.
There is no cost to apply.
The program is financed through Morris County’s share of American Rescue Plan Act funds, and it is designed to provide grants of up to $15,000 to reimburse small businesses and nonprofit organizations for specific pandemic recovery expenses. The expenses must have been incurred on or after March 3, 2021 – a timeline established under ARPA guidelines.
The Small Business Grant Program eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Business has 25 or fewer full-time employees (or equivalent)
- In operation since Jan. 1, 2019
- Located within Morris County
- Less than $5 million in sales/revenue
- Proof of a decline in sales/increased expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Federal guidelines covering the grant program will determine exactly which expenses qualify for coverage under the grant program and which applications may be approved.
The grants are capped at $15,000 per applicant. However, business owners and nonprofits are encouraged to submit applications that include all costs they believe may qualify for the grant, even if the total amount of a single claim exceeds $15,000.
A final review may determine that some costs submitted for consideration are not covered under the program guidelines. However, by submitting all expenses that may qualify, applicants increase the possibility of getting the maximum amount of grant dollars possible.