Janine Predmore’s candle store had never flooded. So when Superstorm Sandy brought a four-foot storm surge to her Union Avenue business, it was devastating.
Predmore lost nearly everything at Things That Make Scents, her candle manufacturing and retail shop.
Not far away, the Main Street bistro “Firefly” also lost its inventory in the storm.
Both businesses sought help from the state. Each was awarded a grant from the state Economic Development Authority. Things That Make Scents received a $27,000 grant and Firefly was given a grant for $50,000.
“These business owners have demonstrated the kind of determination that is leading to the recovery of the NJ small business community,” said Timothy Lizura, president and CEO state Economic Development Authority. “All Sandy-impacted businesses in need of help should contact us. There are funds available through the Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan Programs for all eligible businesses around the state that need assistance.”
Lizura visited Things That Make Scents Wednesday to highlight the Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan Program.
“We lost so much -- packaging supplies, bags, boxes, ribbon, most of our holiday inventory, display racks, manufacturing equipment, computers, paper files – everything,” Predmore said. “The Stronger NJ Business grant has given my business the extra boost it needed to start this holiday season in much better shape.”
Firefly was without power for 15 days, but owners Lori and Malissa Rathgeber rented a high-powered generator – an expense not covered by insurance. The restaurant provided free food, a warm fireplace and even entertainment from local musicians during the aftermath of the storm.
“What was more important than the food was the camaraderie,’’ Lori Rathgeber said. “People came out to talk to their neighbors. It was more important for their soul and their spirit than anything else.”
Since the business loan program began May 1, 75 businesses have been awarded Stronger NJ Business grants for a total of $3.8 million, according to an EDA release.
Once approved for a grant, businesses have up to one year to submit receipts and invoices for eligible expenses, at which point the EDA will issue a disbursement. The Stronger NJ Business Grant program has helped dozens of business owners throughout New Jersey get back on their feet.
Eligibility for Stronger NJ Business grants is no longer tied to whether a business has applied for a Small Business Association Loan. In some cases, businesses may be eligible for reimbursement of repair costs incurred prior to applying for a grant.
Applications must be received on or by October 31, 2013. For more information on the Stronger NJ Business Grant Program, including the complete list of eligibility criteria and eligible uses of funds visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).