October 26, 2021

Giving businesses a boost

Cortland microenterprise program aims to foster growth

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Sarah Tobey, left and Jessica Crawford stand outside Crawford’s business, Global Heart Healing and Massage, which got a $21,800 grant from the city to expand and add jobs.

When Jessica Crawford heard money remained available for Cortland’s microenterprise program, she took advantage and applied for her massage and healing business.

As the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and forced her business to close, it became all the more important.

Crawford, the owner of Global Heart Healing and Massage on Main Street in Cortland, was the most recent business owner to be awarded a grant, $21,800, through the program after it was approved Tuesday night by Cortland’s Common Council.

“I’m very excited and very grateful,” she said.

The program helps businesses of five people or smaller, including the employer, create opportunities for workers with low to moderate income and to help businesses grow, said Linda Armstrong, a program manager at Thoma Development Consultants, which administers the program.

Each grant ranges from $5,000 to $35,000 and can be used to buy equipment, machinery, software or other items, she said.

Funding for the program, which last came in 2018, comes from the Community Development Block Grant Program through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In Cortland, several businesses including Crawford’s, have been awarded money through the program.

One of those is New York Bagel on Main Street. Owner Sandro Mironti said the $30,000 helped the restaurant’s vitality.

“That grant helped this business stay open,” he said, helping him buy an espresso machine, a walk-in freezer and display case.

“We’re in such competition with other coffee makers in town, so we wanted to make sure we offered the best product,” he said.

As part of the agreement, Mironti has hired two more workers, bringing the shop up to six.

Crawford looks to buy sanitizing equipment, a new lighted outdoor sign and updating equipment.

While her business has been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, she said the money will help when she does reopen.

“Now we can do it absolutely right and move forward confidently,” she said.