TUPPER LAKE - Things are looking up for seven locally owned businesses in the village.
On Friday, those businesses each received up to $35,000 as part of a New York state microenterprise grant.
Tammy Mattoon runs Mattoon's Sunflour Bakery with her husband, Barry, who has been baking since he was 8. The couple received $21,645 from the grant, which will help them hire a full-time employee and purchase new equipment.
Gary Casagrain, who owns Casagrain Gallery in Tupper Lake with his wife, Barbara, recently received a New York state microenterprise grant, which he will use to increase advertising for his business. Six other businesses in the village also received grant money.
(Enterprise photo — Shaun Kittle)
Mattoon said the extra help will give her more time for bookkeeping, cake decorating, and pie and pastry making. The new equipment will go toward an addition to the bakery - a miniature diner that will be open year round.
The main reason they applied for the grant is so their children can someday inherit the business. They have two sons and two daughters, and one of each works at the bakery.
"This is a three-generation business, and we wanted the job for them. Those aren't always easy to come by in Tupper Lake. Barry decided to retire from his job as a corrections officer in Ray Brook early so he could begin teaching them how to bake," Mattoon said.
Barry's parents opened the bakery in 1968. At times, it has closed or been in other locations around town, but now it's back in its traditional location.
Mattoon said she hopes the money gives them the boost they need to stay in business.
"We applied for it because we put all our heart and soul and every cent we had into the business," Mattoon said.
Like all of the grant recipients, Mattoon and her husband had to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the money.
They had to have good credit, low income, fewer than five total employees and a realistic business plan that detailed what the money would be spent on. Now that they have the grant, they have to keep every receipt so every penny is accounted for.
The income guideline is a percentage of the county's median income. For a single household in Franklin County, that's $30,375. If a business doesn't meet the guideline, it must create at least one job for someone who does to receive the grant.
The microenterprise grant was obtained through the Saranac Lake-based Adirondack Economic Development Corp. The village was awarded $190,000; $20,000 of that went to AEDC to cover administration fees and training.
AEDC is the only entrepreneurship assistance program center operating in the Adirondacks, and one of 21 in New York. It helps businesses apply for microenterprise grants and fill out paperwork, and it offers the necessary 16-hour training courses business owners must take to receive the grants.
"The comprehensive 16-hour training program deals with the basics of entrepreneurship - everything from marketing to budgeting," said Jim Murphy, executive director of AEDC. "Now that the money has been disbursed, AEDC will monitor the businesses to ensure they are meeting the stipulations of the grant. They have one year to do this. If they fail to do it, the grant becomes a loan that must be paid back."
AEDC also acts as an intermediary lender for commercial lending, meaning they borrow money from the government and then re-lend it out.
"We fill a niche by providing money to businesses that can't go to a bank," Murphy said. "Start-ups are always a challenge for a bank, and it is our feeling that's what the Adirondacks are - small mom-and-pop-based businesses."
But the money isn't just helpful to start-ups.
Stacked Graphics received $13,550 to update equipment. The screen printing business has been in Tupper Lake for six years, owned by Patrick Bedore and Andrew McClelland.
"In our screen printing room, we've had the same equipment since we opened up," Bedore said. "We looked at the grant as the perfect opportunity to speed up and increase our productivity in the darkroom."
The grant is going toward a new exposure unit, a machine that exposes the screens, creating a stencil on them. Bedore said it will double or triple production speeds.
"Right now we are at the mercy of our equipment and can only do one screen at a time. Because we're so new, we pay everything ahead of time. We don't have any credit, and we can't get loans because we we're still paying other loans. Now we have a shot."
For Casagrain Gallery owner and artist Gary Casagrain, the $25,320 offers a welcome chance to get the word out about his gallery.
Casagrain and his wife, Barbara, grew up in Tupper Lake and opened the downtown gallery in 2007 as a place for him to sell his artwork.
His nature-inspired pieces are a reflection of the Adirondacks, a place Casagrain said visitors often try to "bring home with them." His artwork is one way they can do that, he said.
Now, Casagrain said he can hire someone to help him design a website for the gallery and can also afford to advertise locally and outside the region.
"I love to interact with people; I just don't get enough opportunities to do it," Casagrain said. "This is going to help bring people downtown and keep the businesses in the area alive."
Four other businesses also received money from the microenterprise grant: Adirondack State Theater, $35,000; Bima's Pizzeria, $30,000; Greiner Photography, $14,485; Smokin' Horseshoe Barbecue, $30,000.
(Editor's note: This article has been corrected.)
Contact Shaun Kittle at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or email@example.com.