MILLEDGEVILLE — The Milledgeville Downtown Development Authority's BOOST initiative handed out its first grants Thursday.
Amici Italian Café, Hair Bar and Blossoms Florist all received $1,000 from the small business incentive program.
BOOST provides grant money to downtown small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Business owners are only eligible for the grant once per year. The money must go toward specific items such as a new sign, piece of equipment or marketing need.
BOOST checks are made out to the vendor or supplier assuring the money pays for the intended purchase. These three winning applicants are using local vendors for their needs.
The program currently has more than 30 BOOSTERS pledging to donate $100 twice a year, while some agreed to put forth more.
DDA Director Carlee Schulte expects the initiative to grow after this first round of grants.
“I think it's going to pick up momentum, and people are really going to be interested in it, as far as applying and being involved,” Schulte said.
Amici's award will help fund necessary roof repairs, while new downtown businesses Hair Bar and Blossoms Florist got signage assistance.
Blossoms Florist Co-owner Sabrah Braddy said she didn't really know what to expect with the grant process, but it was “easy and fair.”
“Small businesses need that extra help. We've been here a year and couldn't afford the sign yet,” she said. “I think the sign will help a lot.”
BOOSTERS surprised the winners wielding balloons and big checks.
“Downtown has welcomed us and believes in us enough to help out. It was wonderful to see that many people coming in the door and congratulating us saying they are glad we are here,” Braddy said.
Schulte said the Publishers Clearing House style show is a wonderful way to generate buzz and show the winners they are important to downtown.