Black Star Farms hosted the Leelanau County Business Grants awards presentation this week, where 18 Leelanau-based businesses received grants of $1,000 or $1,250 for various business needs. The $19,000 in grants were administered by the Traverse Bay EDC with funds remaining from the dissolution of the Leelanau County Economic Development Corp.
“It was really exciting to see the entrepreneurial spirit in all of these applications,” said Doug Luciani of the TBEDC. He served on the disbursement committee which included Leelanau EDC Chairman Dave McCulloch and member Linda Peppler. Luciani said the committee received 30 applications seeking more than $300,000.
Companies receiving the grants included:
- Great Lakes Tea & Spice
- Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove Farm
- The Redheads
- The V.I. Grill
- Anderson’s Glen Arbor Market
- Brengman Brothers
- Clarke’s Transmission
- Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate
- La Becasse
- Laker Shakes Burdickville Market
- Leelanau Cheese Co.
- Sugarfoot Saloon
- Sun Dog Boarding Kennel
- Suttons Bay Bikes
- Suttons Bay Hops
- Suttons Bay Massage Center
- Suttons Bay Trading Co.
- Timberlee Management
At Suttons Bay Bikes, owner Nick Wierzba said the grant will be used to purchase a point of sale software system allow him to keep better track of his inventory and sales transactions.
“We’ve been in business here for two years and we’ve been limping along without it,” Wierzba said. The improved efficiency will enable him to promote a sales person to an assistant manager post, and hire another employee. “It’s going to save me hundreds of dollars in double entry (labor),” he said.
At Brengman Brothers winery, the grant will be used to offset some of the costs associated with a research project at the three-year-old winery. Employee Nathaniel Rose said the goal is to develop new grape varietals to improve ripening times and cold hardiness of the fruit. The total cost of the research exceeds $5,000, he said.
“We’re hoping to come up with something that’s more viable,” Rose said.
Luciani said officials were pleased with the response to the grant program, and that it demonstrated the need for business development services in Leelanau County. Even with the dissolution of the Leelanau EDC, Luciani said efforts will continue to create an effective business support network that can be accessed by Leelanau County companies.
“Nobody’s turning their back on anybody in Leelanau County,” he said. “There is support for businesses in Leelanau County, and this is just a start.”
The Traverse City Area Chamber also offers an array of business financing and access to capital services. Learn more by clicking here.