Source: Downtown Amherst Foundation
The Downtown Amherst Foundation has awarded grants to 32 businesses in its first grant-giving cycle, awarding close to $150,000 in amounts up to $10,000. Awardees represented several sectors in the business community including restaurants/cafés, bars and pubs, retail establishments, and services.
Receiving awards were: Amherst Coffee, Bistro 63, Crazy Noodles, Cushman Market, El Comalito, Fresh Side, La Veracruzana, LimeRed Teahouse, Miss Saigon, McMurphy’s Uptown Tavern, The Moan and Dove, Pita Pockets, Sibie’s, and Stackers for restaurants and bars. Amherst Books, Fretted Instrument, J. Austin Jewelers, M&M Links, The Bower Studio, The Tox Boy, Zanna for retailers. Cheryl Nina Salon, Matt’s Barbershop, Sei Bella Salon, Styles by Deborah and The Lift Salon for Salon Services. Amherst Fitness, Amherst Inn, Center Dance Studio, Collective Copies/Levellers Press, Hope & Feathers Framing, The Laundry Club and the Yoga Center Amherst for services.
The Downtown Amherst Foundation said that it was thrilled by the community response with contributions from individuals and families, as well as larger donors like Amherst College. The business and organizational community, itself affected by the COVID-19 shutdown responded with donations from Amherst Insurance Agency, BankESB, Bueno y Sano, C & H Architects, Encharter Insurance, Felicity Hardee Law Practice, First Church Amherst, Greenfield Northampton Cooperative Bank, Howard E Stark Charitable Foundation, Mom’s House Chinese Food Market, PeoplesBank, Stakeholders Capital, and the Amherst Business Improvement District. The Downtown Amherst Foundation thanks everyone for helping us reach half of our $500K goal in only three weeks time.
The first round of awards comes at an important juncture, two months into the shutdown without a clear indication of what the fall will look like. Matt of Matt’s Barbershop said, “Just five minutes before [receiving word of the grant], I was on a phone call discussing if Matt’s Barber Shop was going to make it or break it. The grant helps me think we’re going to make it. Thank you so much, Amherst.” Boravy Puch, an owner of Crazy Noodles, was happy to hear some good news. “When we opened our doors 14 years ago, we did so with the intention of sharing some of our favorite foods to a community we were new to. Over the years, you all welcomed us with love and this community became our family and we are tremendously grateful for the support that our family members have shown us during these trying times. Even though our doors are not open now, we will always have a table ready for you when they are.”
The Downtown Amherst Foundation anticipates another round of grants and anticipates a formal announcement shortly. That announcement will include information about eligibility, as well as the timing and size of awards in this grant cycle. With the Commonwealth’s announcement of the phased reopening strategy on May 18, these grants will be focused on helping businesses get up-and-running. Everyone who is interested in maintaining a vibrant Amherst business environment and culture is asked to consider contributing to this fund at www.downtownamherstfoundation.org