City of Glens Falls, Greater Glens Falls LDC Announce “GF Business DRIVE”
GLENS FALLS - The City of Glens Falls and the Greater Glens Falls Local Development Corporation (GGFLDC) are announcing the official launch of the GF Business DRIVE Program. (DRIVE stands for Downtown Revitalization Initiative Venture Enterprise Program).
As a key component of the City’s $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), GF DRIVE will support start-up and young businesses with location and expansion within the Downtown. The City is seeking to promote new and existing business development within the DRI Target Area, including the South and Elm Street area that will be undergoing a significant redevelopment effort also sponsored by the DRI, and other parts of the Downtown Business District targeted for retail and general commercial activities.
GF DRIVE will provide Deferred Loans to for-profit businesses that plan to start up or expand in vacant and underutilized space within the DRI and Downtown Business District. Loans will be based on the needs of each awarded business, and the Deferred Loan will be forgiven after five (5) years if the business continues to operate within Downtown Glens Falls and meets all other program terms during that five-year period. The City is encouraging applications for business ideas that provide goods and services not currently offered in the Downtown and that add to the unique mix of retail, arts and cultural, and professional offices that benefit residents and visitors.
“As the South Street redevelopment that is at the core of the City’s DRI takes shape, we always envisioned a supporting program that would encourage business start-ups and expansion plans to fill space on South Street and other parts of the Downtown,” stated Mayor Dan Hall in describing the origins of GF DRIVE. “This is designed as a competition – we are seeking creative locally-owned business ideas to bring retail, craft-based, light manufacturing, and other job-producing businesses to attract more residents and visitors to Downtown,” commented Mayor Hall.
“There is already a vibrant small business community within the City, and this program will provide a significant spark to boost business creation and expansion, particularly after the negative impacts on local businesses from COVID for much of 2020,” stated Amy Collins, the City’s Director of Tourism and Business Development. While GF DRIVE is not designed to help businesses respond directly to COVID, the new program can provide a financial boost to entrepreneurs planning a new business but who were otherwise holding off on their plans because of the uncertain economy related to the pandemic.
Working with NYS Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) which provided the DRI funding that is supporting GF DRIVE, the City has developed program guidelines and a simple Application form to be distributed to anyone interested in developing their business ideas or expanding a relatively young business within the Downtown. Non-profit organizations are not eligible for GF DRIVE, although the City has made a concerted effort through other DRI-sponsored programs to support projects being implemented by non-profits and arts and cultural institutions. These organizations are absolutely critical to attracting more foot traffic to the Downtown.
Potential uses of GF DRIVE funding is broad, including building renovations and interior fit-up expenses, as well as non-capital expenses such as inventory and equipment, payroll for new jobs that are created, and marketing and web-based sales platforms. There is also a 20% cash match required by each business owner that is awarded GF DRIVE funding, based on the total project costs that will be approved by the City during the project review process. “We want business owners to have skin in the game, but we hope these funds will help encourage entrepreneurs to bring more retail and related business activity to the Downtown,” commented Mayor Hall.
GF DRIVE Applications will be available as of January 25, 2021 through an email request to Ms. Collins, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Project Proposals must be submitted to the City by 4:00 PM on March 12, 2021 to be considered for the first round of funding. Additional questions can be directed to the contacts listed in the GF DRIVE Application materials, and the City will partner with business support agencies to help applicants put together business and expansion plans.