Three area restaurants were awarded “Spirit of Main Street” micro business grants from Genisys Credit Union and Main Street Oakland County.
The awards, announced today by Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Genisys Credit Union, provide a financial boost for businesses severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Trail’s End Café in Wixom, Liberty Bar in Pontiac and Honcho/Union Joints Restaurant in Clarkston, each receive $2,500 “Spirit of Main Street” grants.
“Genisys Credit Union continues to be an important partner for Main Street Oakland County and our Main Street communities,” Coulter said. “Our small businesses continue to suffer from the economic effects of this health crisis, and we are supporting them anyway we can. We are grateful for the support Genisys provides to our small businesses.”
On Thursday, Coulter said the Board of Commissioners allocated $12 million to a job stabilization grant program to assist small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. The county has allocated nearly $14 million for small business relief in less than two months.
The Genisys-funded grants can be used for a variety of needs, from payroll and paying vendors to making structural improvements to marketing. Liberty is using its award for fixtures as part of its planned reopening. Union Joints in Clarkston is using it to help cover payroll during the pandemic and Trail’s End has used it to pay for vendors and supplies, and as a result, just reopened. Under the terms of the grant, a minimum dollar-for-dollar match must be provided by the applicant.
“We fund these grants to help attract and retain small businesses and, in turn, build stronger local economies and communities,” said Linda Zabik of the credit union’s corporate social responsibility program.
This is the third year of the partnership between Genisys and Main Street Oakland County. A second round of funding is planned, with a deadline of Aug. 30.
Eligible small businesses must apply through one of the 16 Main Street communities: Auburn Hills, Clarkston, Berkley, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Lake Orion, Pontiac, Ortonville, Oxford, Rochester, Royal Oak and Wixom. For more information and application forms, go to the Services & Training tab at MainStreetOaklandCounty.com.
This is the first time a small business from Wixom has received a grant and second time for a business in Clarkston. A small business in Pontiac has been awarded a grant each year since the program’s inception. Other MSOC communities which have had grant recipients include Berkley, Clawson, Farmington, Franklin, Highland, Holly, Ortonville, Oxford and Royal Oak.
In 2019, public and private investment in Main Street Oakland County totaled more than $50.2 million and resulted in 450 net new jobs; 60 net new businesses; and contributions of more than 28,460 volunteer hours.
“Main Street Oakland County is a very successful program,” Coulter said. “To date, more than $837 million in public and private investments have been made to Main Street downtowns, establishing 1,163 new businesses and generating 8,000 jobs. Genisys Credit Union has been such a valuable partner. It understands the importance of supporting small businesses in our downtowns and its financial commitment helps ensure they remain vital and attractive destinations for residents and visitors alike.”
Oakland County is the first and still only county in the United States to operate a full-service, county-wide Main Street program.
Designated Main Street Oakland County communities include Auburn Hills, Berkley, Birmingham, Clarkston, Clawson, Farmington, Ferndale, Franklin, Groveland Township, Hazel Park, Highland Township, Holly, Holly Township, Lake Orion, Lathrup Village, Leonard, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Ortonville, Oxford, Pontiac, Rochester, Royal Oak, South Lyon and Wixom.