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Two Chester Borough shops receive $15,000

CHESTER BOROUGH, NJ (Morris County) – Two owner-operated shops in Chester Borough were hand-delivered checks for $15,000 each Thursday, as the Morris County’s Board of County Commissioners and Morris County Chamber of Commerce continued to invite more small businesses to apply for grants under the Morris County Small Business Grant Program.

“The challenges were great for anyone operating a small business during the pandemic, and the businesses continue to be under pressure. Morris County designed this program, using our allotment of federal American Rescue Plan dollars, to help small shops and nonprofits to hopefully recoup some of their expenses over the past year. We hope more will take advantage of this opportunity,” said Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen.

Selen was joined by Commissioners Stephen Shaw and Thomas Mastrangelo, as well as Morris County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Michael Stanzilis and Chester Mayor Janet Hoven, in delivering checks for $15,000 to Barbara Chupick at You’re Not in Kansas Anymore and Susan Nagel of Winky’s Pet Boutique. Both Perry Street businesses in Chester cited expenses they incurred overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, qualifying them for the maximum grant amount possible under the program.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. As a small business owner, myself, I know how difficult it is running a successful small business in New  Jersey. Two years of a pandemic made it that much more difficult. This program can be the boost many businesses can use to get over the hump as they deal with recovery, staffing and supply chain issues,” said Commissioner Shaw. “We still have millions of dollars not yet committed. I encourage small business owners to apply. There is no cost, so there is nothing to lose. As Mrs. Chupick at You’re Not In Kansas Anymore explained to us, she applied regardless of the fact that she was told by others she would not qualify. She now has $15,000 to invest back into her business.”

Susan Nagel at Winky’s said she has touted the program to other Chester businesses, and that she knows many have not yet applied. Operating Winky’s since 2007, she recalled that during the pandemic, the streets of Chester – lined with small businesses – were empty for months.

“I built my small business from the ground up, and fortunately I have remained successful. But I know other businesses that closed, and many others continue to suffer. This grant program can make the difference in whether some places can continue, so business owners should check it out, at the very least. Go to the website, read the plain-English information and submit an application,” said Commissioner Mastrangelo.

The program, launched on Valentine’s Day under the slogan “Morris County Loves Small Business,” has received 550 applications to date, with 150 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 Morris County Board of County Commissioners has committed $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars toward the program, which 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.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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