MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Two more $15,000 checks were delivered to small business owners in Morris County this week, as the Morris County Small Business Grant program prepared to wind down and close the application period one week from Friday.
Morris County Commissioner Stephen Shaw presented the checks during visits yesterday to the popular Empire Diner on Route 46 in Parsippany-Troy Hills and P.J.’s Plumbing Supplies, a venerable heating and plumbing parts shop on West Clinton Street in Dover that assumed new ownership three years ago.
“We bought the business in 2019 – right before the pandemic – a hard year to start a new business. It was difficult, so we are very grateful for the grant. We are just starting to move forward with some new marketing,” said Holly Mastrian, who runs P.J.’s with her brother, John G. Hosking.
The family business is owned by their father, John F. Hosking. Empire Diner also is a family run business, owned by Bobby Shizas.
“We are very thankful for this. It is very helpful,” said Frank Shizas, his son, noting the restaurant industry was hard hit by the pandemic and establishments are still working to recover.
Parsippany Township Council Vice-President Loretta Gragnani joined Commissioner Shaw in presenting the grant to Frank Shizas at the diner yesterday.
Offering grants of up to $15,000 per entity, the Morris County Board of County Commissioners will have approved 723 applications by the time the program is closed for submissions on Friday, Sept. 30.
The Commissioners dedicated $10 million to the program, which opened on Valentine’s Day, and designed the grants to assist small businesses and nonprofits with pandemic related expenses incurred after March 3, 2021, including rent and mortgages payments. The Morris County Small Business Grant Program has been a unique use of federal funds issued to the county through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was designed to offer pandemic-related aid.
Federal guidelines covering the grant program will determine exactly which expenses qualify for coverage and which applications may be approved. The grants are capped at $15,000 per applicant. However, business owners and nonprofits have been 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.