MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Owning a small business is a big undertaking. That is why the Milledgeville community is working together to help downtown shops with a new grant program that gives these businesses the boost they need.
Amber Simmons always wanted to run her own salon and that dream came true two months ago. She and her husband, Allen Simmons, are now the proud owners of HairBar, but running a small business is a big feat.
"Some of the initial expenses are probably the most challenging thing," Allen said. "The inventory, the equipment, the sign, painting," Amber adds.
Not it is getting a little easier, thanks to the BOOST grant. It is a new program that helps small downtown businesses with funding needs.
"We just feel like a program where people would have a chance to give back and help support our local businesses would be something folks might be interested in," Milledgeville Downtown Development Authority board member Donna Collins said.
And they are. Collins says more than 30 local business owners and residents signed up to be boosters. Each one donates at least $200 per year. The four times a year, they vote on which shops earn the money—anywhere from $100 to $1,000.
"For a small business owner, a thousand dollars is huge," Collins said. "It could mean the difference in you being able to keep your business open, it could mean the difference in you being able to grow and expand your business."
Milledgeville Main Street Director Carlee Schulte says the program is also boosting community pride.
"They can walk around and say, 'I helped that business get that product line or put that sign up,'" Schulte said. "That's what it's about, having pride in your community and making these businesses feel like we're going to take care of them."
"Knowing that your community supports you and your neighbors are supporting you, it's just a good feeling," the Simmons said.
So far, eight businesses have applied for the first round of the BOOST grant and the deadline is tomorrow.
Click here for application information and to find out how you can support downtown Milledgeville businesses.