May 21, 2019

Homer to announce new microenterprise grants

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Jodi Terwilliger, the owner of Bridal Barn at 11 N. Main St., Suite 2, in Homer steams a wedding dress Wednesday. Terwilliger received a microenterprise grant from the village of Homer in 2016 to help her business. The village is considering requests for a new round of funding under the program.

Two years ago, Jodi Terwilliger used a $15,000 microenterprise grant from the village of Homer to expand her dress inventory and advertise her bridal business.

Megan Williams used a similar $10,000 grant to buy new equipment at her hair salon, Prima Studio.

The money has helped get more people through the door. The village board plans to award a second round of microenterprise grants next week to three village businesses.

“When I first got the money and all the lines in I was getting girls from Buffalo and Cazenovia coming here for dresses,” Terwilliger said.

Terwilliger and Williams were among 10 recipients in 2016 of grants from a $200,000 program by the state Office of Community Renewal to create or retain businesses with five or fewer employees. The money can be used for equipment, inventory or working capital.

The village board will vote next week on approving $67,781 in grants to three businesses:
• Burhans Photography, $31,094.
• Heart’s Content Healing. $12,762.
• WXHC Radio, $23,925.

Businesses could apply for up to $35,000, although a committee decided how much each business would get.

Williams said the upgrades she made using the grant money changed the atmosphere and look of her business.

“It took my starter salon to a professional, top-quality establishment,” she said. “It has steadily increased clientele.”

It also led her and Terwilliger to share one location at 11 N. Main St., Suite 2, so their businesses could play off each other.

A third round of grants will also be awarded, said Village Clerk Dan Egnor. The deadline for applications is in May; a specific date will be set at the March 13 meeting.

The village has $102,218 left to give out, but Egnor said this is the last year the village has the grant.

Williams said she won’t reapply for the grant; Terwilliger said she’s not sure.

To get a second grant, the business would need to create another position for a person with low to moderate income, Egnor said. That’s not always easy.

“You end up paying more for another employee than you get from the grant,” Williams said.

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