Continuing the Christie Administration’s commitment to the recovery of small businesses in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) announced today that several Ocean City businesses have recently been awarded Stronger NJ Business Grants to support their recovery from Sandy.
Pelican Pete’s Island Car Wash, Neal’s A&D Tire Service, Christina’s Butterfly Boutique, Making Waves, and Serendipity Bed and Breakfast all received grants from the Stronger NJ Business Grant program, which offers grants of up to $50,000 per impacted location to New Jersey businesses damaged by the storm. To date, 132 businesses have been approved grants totaling over $6.6 million.
“We encourage any business with at least $5,000 in damage from the storm to contact us as there are still funds available to support small businesses,” said Michele Brown, CEO of the EDA. “The Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan programs can help business owners fund the gap between the resources they have available and what they need to get their businesses back to where they were before the storm.”
Making Waves, a women’s clothing boutique featuring contemporary clothing and accessories, experienced major flooding, resulting in building damage and complete loss of inventory and display fixtures at its Ocean City location. The business’s three other locations in southern NJ experienced significant damage and loss of inventory as well.
“The damage from the storm was terrible, but the disruption in business following the storm added insult to injury. The Stronger NJ Business Grant is really helping us get back on track,” said Making Waves owner Francine Keller.
Serendipity Bed and Breakfast, located just half a block from the ocean, lost the entire contents of its basement to flooding including their boiler, electrical panel, and fire monitoring panel. They also suffered major damage to their chimney, but fortunately the flooding did not make it up to the first floor.
“Returning to our business, which is also our home, to survey the damage following the storm was completely overwhelming,” said Karen Morella, Owner, Serendipity Bed and Breakfast. “Our recovery hasn’t been easy, but with the help of our neighbors and some trusted contractors, we are now doing fine. We truly appreciate the grant the state has provided.”
Since May 1, storm-impacted small businesses have been able to apply for EDA administered grants of up to $50,000 through the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program. The program launched two days after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan. Governor Christie called on the EDA to administer $460 million of the state’s CDBG Disaster Recovery allocation to support the recovery of impacted businesses. The Stronger NJ Business Grant program is the first of these CDBG-funded business recovery programs and is utilizing $260 million of the allocation.
On July 1, the EDA unveiled the $100 million Stronger NJ Business Loan program, which offers loans of up to $5 million with no interest or principal payments for up to 24 years to businesses impacted by the storm, as well as businesses looking to expand within storm-impacted communities.
The third Stronger NJ Business program, the $75 million Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program, offers financial assistance to support 1) development and public improvement projects; 2) main street revitalization; and, 3) Community Development Financial Institutions providing loans to small businesses.