A trio of small businesses in West Michigan received $75,000 in grant funds from a Michigan Economic Development Corporation program.
Hardt-Elliott Agency in South Haven, White Flame Brewing Co. in Hudsonville and Torti Taco in Battle Creek each received $25,000 through the Match on Main program, the MEDC said Tuesday.
The MEDC awarded a total of $500,743 in grants to 17 communities across Michigan through the Match on Main program, which provides funding to communities that participate at the select and master level in the Michigan Main Street program or are a certified redevelopment ready community (RRC). The communities, which receive the grant funding from the MEDC, in turn award grants of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses seeking support.
“Thriving small businesses are the cornerstone of what makes Michigan’s downtowns unique and authentic while helping to create economic opportunity across the state,” said Michele Wildman, MEDC senior vice president of community development. “These Match on Main grants will help local businesses find new paths to growth, and create and retain jobs while further developing vibrant, unique and attractive places where people want to live, work and play.”
The 17 grants issued across the state are expected to create or retain 69 full-time and 71 part-time jobs, and the projects are expected to generate a total private investment of nearly $2 million.
Grants may be used by the business for eligible expenses that support technical assistance, interior building renovations, permanent or semi-permanent activation of an outdoor space, permanent or semi-permanent business infrastructure related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, and other working capital needs such as marketing and inventory expenses. Additional needs identified by the business and supported by the local community also are considered.
The city of Battle Creek will use its $25,000 grant to assist with the expansion of Torti Taco, a family-owned restaurant featuring authentic Mexican food that is made from scratch using fresh ingredients. With the help of the funds, Torti Taco is opening a second location in the heart of downtown Battle Creek.
“We have gotten so much support from the community and our customers. We are so grateful, we love being part of the community and by expanding to downtown with outdoor seating, adding cocktails and being part of the new State Street Commons Social District, we can celebrate together very soon,” said Javier Fortoso, owner of Torti Taco. “Thank you to Battle Creek and all our partners for helping us reach our goals as a team.”
John Hart, city of Battle Creek small business development director, said the funding for Torti Taco is “extremely helpful and timely.”
“The project will help bolster the group efforts of our community stakeholders in creating vibrancy in downtown Battle Creek,” he said. “… The full-service restaurant build-out includes placemaking elements at the street level; provides for the redevelopment of a city-owned, mixed-use property; and involves multiple public and private funding partners. Best of all, it elevates the service provision and capacity of a local entrepreneur who is loved by many.”
More information on the Match on Main program is available online.