Waynesboro, Staunton Offering Grants to New Small Businesses - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Waynesboro, Staunton Offering Grants to New, Expanding Small Businesses

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The Store, downtown Staunton's newest retailer, is all about fresh and local food. Grant money is helping the co-owners get their business off the ground, and it could do the same for the next entrepreneur.

The cities of Staunton and Waynesboro are offering some incentives for new or expanding small businesses with what they call "enterprise zone grants." The Store's owners can get up to $5,000 to help them with startup costs.

Tom Hayman from Grains of Sense can finally meet the demand for his fresh coffees, moving his roasting machine out of his garage and into his own storefront with the money.  "We already have kind of a client base that's familiar with us, so it's a matter of people finding their way here," said Hayman.

"Here" is space in a Central Avenue strip mall, that he shares with the Nu-Beginning Farm.

Co-owner John Matheny started out selling fresh produce off of his three-acre homestead, then started moving to farmers markets and later added baked goods and jams.

"No competition with the products at all. They take care of the beverages; we take care of the food. You get something to eat, you've got to have something to drink. You get a good cup of coffee, you want a piece of pound cake. The products complement each other so well, we'd be stupid not to do this," said Matheny.

The dual-operation qualified for one of Staunton's enterprise-zone grants because they combine to create a rare, downtown grocery store. "That fits into one of our target markets because we're trying to make it easier for people to live and work downtown without having to get in their car and drive," said Amanda Glover of Staunton's economic office.

The grant will reimburse Hayman and Matheny for half of their marketing costs during the first six months they're in business.

"The money that comes from the fund helps with advertising and other expenses that we normally would have to pick up the tab for. So that's really been helpful," said Hayman.

Staunton and Waynesboro are co-hosting an enterprise-zone workshop to help new and expanding businesses find out if they're eligible for a grant. It's set for 2 p.m. Tuesday in Staunton City Council chambers.


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