By Bill Wolcott
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
LOCKPORT — Nine established downtown-area businesses and six new businesses earned funds totalling $180,000 from the State Office of Community Renewal on Monday.
Mayor Michael Tucker, Sen. George Maziarz and Charles Bell of the Greater Lockport Development Corporation made the announcement in front of Micrographics at 36-B Main St. as several of the grant winners gathered and smiled in the breeze.
The GLDC was granted a $200,000 windfall and is following up on on other possible recipients. The city did not use the $25,000 allotted for administration costs, but plans to provide the money for further grants.
New businesses were eligible for $20,000 grants and they were awarded to D’Vine Wines at 80 Main St.; Donna’s Restaurant on 7 Charles St. and Sweet Ride Rentals on 51 Canal St. Micrographics and Lake Effect Ice Cream will get $15,000 cash for their existing busineses.
Community Renewal is designed to revitalize downtowns in small cities, Bell explained. The GLDC and Main Street Lockport put the proposal together for the Lockport’s central business district.
There were 22 applicatons for grants. “We are certainly hoping to put in for another round of funding,” Bell said. “It really shows the demand. We had to turn some good applications away, so that will help our case.”
Ellen Martin of Sweet Ride Rentals was exited by the $20,000 boost. The new business on Canal Street plans to buy 20 to 30 brand new bikes, with locks and helmets. The money will also help with work on the building.
Bikes for men, women, children and tandem bikes will be available. Half-day, full-day and lunch-time express rentals will be available. The target date for opening is Memorial Day.
Campfire Premiums is an established business getting $10,000. Denise and Paul Ellington, RIT graduates, started their business eight years ago in their Pendleton Home and have been at Harrison Place for two years. The company produces a large selection of custom-printed drinkware.
“We’re hoping to expand out product line and get into some new markets,” Paul said.
Campfire is creating a new website. “We’ve had one out there for quite a while,” Denise said, “We need one that’s a little more user friendly to reach more people when they do a search. They could bring a big influx of business for us an facilitate us hiring someone else.”
The Ellingtons like their spacey Harrison site. “Harrison was a godsend fo us,” Paul said. “Our inventory and equipment was not set up in an efficient way at home. Harrison provided space for us that is extremely affordable.”
Jack and Rebecca Florio plan to install a large format printer in their Micrographics shop on Main Street. “We have one,” Rebecca said. “Now we’re going to the next step.”
Tucker said the anouncement is projected to reap 35 new jobs.
“The governor has seen this is a very positive thing, particulary for small and medium sized cities communites in Upstate New York,” Maziarz said. “He has been very supportive. The governor is into this. He believes in small communities.”