DOWNTOWN AMHERST FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES SECOND ROUND OF RELIEF AND RESILIENCY AWARDS

Photo: Downtown Amherst Foundation

DOWNTOWN AMHERST FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES SECOND ROUND OF RELIEF AND RESILIENCY AWARDS

Source: Downtown Amherst Foundation

Twenty Seven downtown Amherst businesses from the retail, restaurant and services sectors have been awarded Relief and Resiliency grants in the second round of the Downtown Amherst Foundation’s (DAF) grant program.  Approximately $100,000 was awarded with grants ranging from $1000 – $7000.  The awards were announced on June 26.  The funding arrives as more businesses open up and prepare for in-store services, shopping and dining. 

Restaurants and eateries that will receive awards are Arigato, Kaiju, Momo Tibetan, Oriental Flavor, Osteria Vespa, Wheelhouse (a catering company located in the former Lumberyard restaurant space) and both Subways on Main Street and College Street (owned and operated by locals.) 

Retailers awarded are Dion Tack, J. Austin Antiques, Knowles Flower Shop, and Mystery Train. Salons and Spas/Health Clubs awarded are Global Cuts, Absolutely Hair, Amherst Extensions & Beauty Supply, Artressa, Casimir Kocot, Eliana’s Barbershop, Electrolysis by Athena & Lorraine, Elements Hot Tub & Spa, Hair by Harlow, Hair East and Sandy’s Barber Shop.  

Awards for the Service sectors go to Amherst Copy & DesignWorks, Hampshire Athletic Club, Fitness Together, and Paul’s Shoe Repair.

The five person Review Committee was composed of Glenn Barrett, Ellen Brout Lindsey, Tony Maroulis, Irv Rhodes and Ralph Tate. 

The funds help business owners and staff struggling with lower customer volume while navigating staffing, services, and fiscal obligations like paying suppliers, while staying healthy and safe. Other businesses were counting on a faster phased reopening. Kevin Grimard at Paul’s Shoe Repair, who has been in business for 32 years, taking over from his father who opened in 1960 said, “I’ve done really well all these years in Amherst and never thought in my life something like this would happen.” 

DAF’s fundraising effort has garnered over $300,000 with generous recent donations from Applied Mortgage and the Amherst Rotary Club, along with numerous donations from residents. 

DAF has secured gallons of hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves and will be distributing them to Amherst businesses. Jay Paulo, owner of the Subway on Main Street, as well as a part-time EMT in Springfield, said that such personal protective equipment is most welcome as supplies remain very limited. The Town of Amherst was able to secure a $10,000 grant from the Solomon Foundation which they have awarded to the Downtown Amherst Foundation. The DAF will match this grant and will be using it to purchase umbrellas and large planters for shade trees to enhance the outdoor dining experience. The Amherst Downtown BID will be working with the DPW to string café lighting along the streetscapes to create a welcoming and vibrant night-time setting. 

According to Ann Tweedy of the Amherst Buisness Improvement District, a Third Round of Grant is planned. DAF continues to seek donations to support of this project.  Contributions can be made online at www.downtownamherstfoundation.org or send a check to 35 South Pleasant Street, Amherst MA 01002

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