The Open for Business in Chestertown program is pleased to announce that four loans were granted for the 2016 Spring cycle.
The Greater Chestertown Initiative/Open For Business in Chestertown and the SFW Foundation are working together to support new and expanding businesses that will ensure continued economic growth in Chestertown. Open for Business was designed to provide “kickstarter” funding for new or expanding businesses with the goal of filling storefronts in the downtown district. All of the interest free loans made in this cycle were earmarked to defray a portion of the costs needed for remodeling construction.
Rob Glebe Design
Faith Wilson Art
Robert Ortiz Studios
The loan to JR Alfree enabled him to install new air conditioning and heating for his recently purchased building. This will substantially reduce energy costs for the Lemon Leaf and JR’s Past Time Pub on High Street. Three smaller loans were approved for Rob Glebe, Bob Ortiz and Faith Wilson to be used to remodel the space for their new gallery – CREATE art.craft.design – scheduled to open in mid-May on Cross Street. As the interest-free loans are repaid, the money will remain in the Open for Business fund allowing the loan program to benefit businesses well into the future.
The GCI, currently chaired by Lani Seikaly, is an informal and independent coalition of leaders of organizations both non-profit and for-profit, community associations and government agencies, Washington College and other interested groups and individuals. The major work of GCI last year was to advocate for and support the town’s successful application for an Arts & Entertainment District designation from the Maryland State Arts Council. The SFW Foundation recognizing the importance of a designated person to move the initiative forward provided matching funds for an economic development director’s position in Chestertown’s budget for FY2015. The matching funds moved the position from a part time one to full time. In September 2015, Kay MacIntosh was selected to serve as the Economic Development and Marketing Coordinator for Chestertown.
Carla Massoni, chairman of the Open for Business application and review process, invites entrepreneurs to apply for loans to offset the costs of starting a new business, to expand an existing business or to relocate operations to Chestertown. While the businesses must be physically located in Chestertown, business owners are not required to live in Kent County to apply. For more about information about Open for Business loans and an online application, see openforbusinessinchestertown.com.