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Herkimer County’s Small Businesses Receive Helping Hand From State

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Herkimer, NY (WIBX) - Two local lawmakers are helping Herkimer County’s small businesses thrive.

Senator James Seward and Assemblyman Marc Butler discussed the recent influx of $50,000 for the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency’s Small Business Revolving Loan Fund.

Seward, who helped provide the impetus for this round of money, says it targets an area of business often overlooked by government.

“There was a gap there in terms of our small business community, those Mom and Pop businesses, those Main Street businesses in our various communities,” Seward said. “There wasn’t really anything available to them to assist them. That’s why this Small Business Revolving Loan Fund is so important.”

The fund offers small businesses a chance to receive up to $4,000 in loans and grants for various projects. The money is broken down into a 2% interest loan of $2,000 and a $2,000 grant. Only the two-year loan must be repaid, with payments totaling slightly more than $85 per month.

Mark Feane, Executive Director of the Herkimer County IDA, says this money comes at an important time.

“These Main Street merchants… they’re struggling,” Feane said. “I mean with all the various cost factors that they face, and often times with a dwindling customer base and the competition being what it is and the economy being what it is, we think that this is an extremely important investment.”

Feane also says since the program’s inception in 2009, more than $455,000 dollars worth of projects have been accepted and, in many cases, completed. Among those projects include a new facade for the Brass Tack Restaurant in Frankfort and several equipment purchases for local farms.

Butler, who helped get the program up and running with the first $50,000 investment, was also instrumental in receiving this round of state money. He says the program, if it continues operating efficiently, will be a boon for the county.

“We think the concept is sound, it’s worked, it’s done some great things,” Butler said. “I don’t think we’re prepared to stop here. When this money is exhausted, we’ll look for more sources of funding to keep this going. It’s been a great program and all of the feedback we’re getting from the local business people, it’s been very helpful and we want to continue it and grow it even more.”

Loans are available to small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. They must have their own business address and been in operation for at least one year. They must also be able to provide their own investment of $2,000 to cover a portion of the project’s cost.

For more information about the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund, click here.

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