Northampton awards $125K in grants to 23 businesses

  • Downtown Northampton on Main Street GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/12/2020 2:20:53 PM

NORTHAMPTON — When Strada Shoes owner Anna Bowen found out she would receive an emergency business grant from the city, “Honestly, I felt like I won the lottery,” she said. 

The downtown shoe store is one of 23 businesses that the city recently awarded a total of $125,000 in emergency business grant funding, according to a statement from Mayor David Narkewicz’s office on Tuesday. The program is funded with federal Community Development Block Grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

When the mayor’s office announced the program last month,  it said grants would be as large at $10,000 and would go to small businesses — which the city defined as having 10 or fewer employees— “with direct benefit to low- and moderate-income employees or owners.”

Other businesses that received grants include Jake’s Restaurant, Mill River Music and Guitars, and Dobra Tea, the city announced Tuesday.

Bowen is using her $7,500 grant to digitize Strada Shoes. “We’re putting our entire inventory online,” she said.

It doesn’t totally recreate the in-store experience, she said, but already she has made some sales. When non-essential businesses eventually re-open for in-person retail, Bowen said that having the ability to browse the stock before coming in will be helpful for customers who are nervous about spending time in the physical store.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.




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