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Grant programs give makeovers to Raleigh businesses

Posted May 12

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— As quickly as downtown Raleigh is growing, there are storefronts that are abandoned or need a renovation, so two programs are helping business owners pay for makeovers inside and out.

Kelly Wohlgenant held a grand opening for her new shop, Retro Modern Furnishings, on Friday in downtown Raleigh. She’s grateful for the $3,000 the Downtown Raleigh Alliance gave her to uplift the space with track lighting, a storage area and graphics on the windows.

“It definitely helped convince me to move here,” she said.

The alliance is giving several grants this year and is just one program giving Raleigh businesses a helping hand. Business owners are also getting help from a separate city program that helps them offset the costs of sprucing up storefronts.

Whiskey Kitchen in downtown Raleigh is getting a Façade Rehabilitation Grant from the city to offset construction costs. More than 100 buildings have already taken advantage of the program, which provides up to $10,000 in grant rebates for each project.

City of Raleigh urban designer Beth Nooe said the program is good for the neighborhood.

“We kind of consider it community place making to have a local business improve and it does so much more for the community and not just for the business,” said Nooe.

The City Council recently approved expanding the program from downtown to cover businesses in other parts of the city that need some economic help. Wohlgenant said the grants make it easier to take the risk and go into business.

“There’s a lot of upfront costs that you have to pay in the building itself. It really helps get the ball rolling,” she said.

The newly expanded program now covers southeast Raleigh, Western Boulevard and Capital Boulevard. It also covers murals and art projects.

Businesses can apply on the city’s website.


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