Downtown merchants get Duke Energy grants
Published 9:07 am Thursday, December 16, 2021
By Jeanna Baxter White
Word Master Media Group
Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community.
Last week, 11 Downtown Mocksville merchants received more than $22,000 in Main Street Makeover micro-grants designed to help them not only survive but thrive through COVID.
The funds were awarded through the Duke Energy Foundation’s Hometown Revitalization grant program which was established to help local businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – adapt to the challenges caused by the pandemic.
Davie County was one of 30 communities selected to receive a $25,000 grant through a partnership with the Davie Community Foundation, Davie Chamber of Commerce, and Community Development Coordinator from the Town of Mocksville. A total of $750,000 was distributed across the state.
“We are blessed to have amazing community leaders come together for the betterment of our businesses. The funds received from Duke Energy Foundation will help our downtown merchants continue to thrive. Our downtown is the heartbeat of our community and we want to support them as much as we can,” said Caroline Moser, president of the Davie County Chamber of Commerce.
“As we continue to pivot and navigate through the stages of this pandemic, the Duke Energy Hometown Revitalization Grant is a wonderful resource for our downtown businesses and services,” said Jane Simpson, president and CEO of the Davie Community Foundation. “With this funding, our merchants can continue to keep their businesses flourishing through diversity, physical enhancements, social media, and e-commerce.”
Managed by the Davie Community Foundation, this small business support microgrant program was available to help eligible Downtown Mocksville businesses recover or pivot as a result of COVID-19. A pivot could include adding enhanced service or commerce opportunities to aid the business in adjusting to the effects of the crisis, such as modifying physical space, improving an e-commerce site for online sales, or expanding capacity for delivering goods and services.
Expenditures could include furniture for expanded outdoor dining, materials for construction of takeout windows, accessibility compliance for additional seating, additional fixtures required for compliance with public health issues, and building of e-commerce platforms, as well as other equipment or tools needed for creative adaptation and pivoting of businesses.
Each business could apply for up to $2500.
A five-member grant award selection committee evaluated requests based upon the project’s impact on the business, the project’s impact on Downtown Mocksville, the likelihood of the completion of the project if not already completed, the likelihood of increasing foot traffic in Downtown Mocksville and the projected increase in business revenue.
“This grant was a wonderful tool and resource for our local merchants during these difficult times,” said Tami Langdon, community development coordinator for the Town of Mocksville. “A huge thanks to Duke Energy and of course, our committee… Jane Simpson, Davie Community Foundation; Caroline Moser and the Davie County Chamber of Commerce; Larry Colbourne, Mebane Foundation; Dottie Graham, Skyline National Bank; and Town of Mocksville Community Development.”
Grant recipients expressed their gratitude and shared the impact the funds will have on their businesses.
“As the owners of two Main Street businesses, The Station General Store and Taproom and Southern Ties Boutique, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunities receiving this grant gives us,” said Bryan and Suzanne Lakey. “At Southern Ties we were able to build an app that allowed us to sell online with ease during the COVID shutdowns. Our app will continue giving customers the chance to shop from home while still offering local pick-up, bringing people downtown to our storefront.
“The Station added outdoor heaters and additional patio enhancements that allowed customers to enjoy coming downtown to have a drink or a sno-ball with friends outside during the heightened COVID restrictions this past year. We look forward to seeing Main Street grow and creating a welcoming place our community and anyone traveling through will enjoy.”
Stephanie Shoffner, owner of Lydia James, was equally thankful. “I am thrilled to be chosen as one of the recipients for the Main Street Makeover Grant. This grant will help grow our e-commerce business, as well as help us host events to encourage more people to visit beautiful downtown Mocksville.”
Langdon is eager to watch the positive impact that the Main Street Makeover grants will have on these merchants and Downtown Mocksville as a whole.
“Downtown Mocksville is blessed to have such a diverse and energetic group of merchants. May we all remember not only during this holiday season but throughout the year – shop local and support small businesses.