NC STEP approves grants

Chase Jordan / Sampson Independent Garland Commissioners discuss N.C. Step grant awards during a Tuesday special meeting.

GARLAND — Several entrepreneurs recently received a boost for their businesses, something that also turns out to be for the betterment of Garland.

During a recent special meeting, the Garland Board of Commissioners approved more than $15,000 in business and property grants. The grants are a part of the NC Small Town Economic Prosperity (NC STEP) initiative. It was initiated in 2012 and is now administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. NC STEP is designed to help towns facing economic hardships because of the economy.

The purpose of the grants is to improve economic development, job growth, the town as a whole, and assisting with business retention. Grants are awarded in three categories: improving the face of a building, renovations and retention.

“We would like to thank these business and property owners for applying for the grants and working collaboratively to improve Garland,” Mayor Winifred Hill Murphy said during the meeting Tuesday night.

Grants recently approved were for Carolyn’s Flower Shop (Carolyn Parker) – Retention; Felipe Macedo Auto and Tire Repair – Retention; Bush’s Auto & Repair (Johnny an Melissa Murphy) – Retention; Jones’ Barbershop (John Jones)- Retention and Façade; Summerville –Boykin Mortuary (Albert Summerville) – Retention; Brown’s Cleaners/Laundromat (Franklin Brown)-Façade; and Tortilleria San Juan (Luciana Alvarado)- Retention.

Previously, grants were awarded to business owner Matthew Register for Southern Smoke Barbecue; Andy Runion for Garland Hardware and AA Auto Service; and Carolyn Parker for Carolyn’s Flower Shop. Parker used the funds to improve an awning at her business and a retention grant assisted Register with the enhancement of an outdoor eating area for Southern Smoke Barbecue. Through NC STEP facade, retention and renovation grants, Runion improved Garland Hardware and AA Auto Service.

While addressing the board during the recent meeting, NC STEP facilitator Mary Brown discussed the grant and others who may be interested in applying for them.

“We have walked them through the application process to let them know what we can do,” Brown said about the grants.

Some of the other mentioned projects included a mural and improving the visitor’s center and town hall annex.

“There’s a lot of decisions that have to be made and we would really like to have your input on that,” Murphy stressed.

The mayor also stated that other business and property owners are being encouraged to apply before June 1. Grants are reviewed by a Grant Review Committee and recommendations made to the Garland NC STEP Leadership Committee. Final approval depends on the Garland Board of Commissioners.

For more information, business owners may contact Brown at 910-529-5981 or Garland Town Hall at 910-529-4141.