BERGEN COUNTY BUSINESSES AWARDED RECOVERY GRANTS AND LOANS
Trenton, NJ – To showcase the rebuilding of Superstorm Sandy-impacted small businesses, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) has announced the award of Stronger NJ Business Grants to Little Ferry and Moonachie businesses, including Bear Hands and Buddies, Ressa’s Meadowlands Cleaners, Dolce Novita Restaurant, Rug Depot and Frolick Brass. To date, more than 40 Bergen County businesses have been awarded grants and loans totaling over $4.1 million.
“While the focus this week has been on the shore towns and the start of the summer tourism season, it’s important to remember that businesses in Sandy-impacted areas throughout the state are recovering,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer, Michele Brown. “Small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy and the EDA remains committed to helping all eligible companies through the Stronger NJ programs.”
Little Ferry-based BearHands and Buddies, which designs and manufactures versatile winter mittens and accessories, experienced damage to its facilities, and lost both equipment and inventory following the storm. BearHands are Thinsulate™ lined, paw-shaped mittens that allow you to access your bare hand through a secret Velcro flap. The company’s “buddy” line of products includes scarves, hats, ponchos, baseball caps and sun hats.
“The timing of the storm couldn’t have been worse, as it was just before our busy holiday season,” said Jeffrey Golden, President, BearHands and Buddies. “Thankfully, business has returned to normal – if not better — and we’re excited for the future. Many thanks to our customers and the state for their support.”
EDA business advisors are in Moonachie today for one-on-one meetings with local Stronger NJ applicants to assist with the completion of their applications. According to Brown, the goal of these workshops is to help expedite the process and ensure that additional burdens are not placed on the businesses.
Applicants are contacted via telephone prior to the workshops to schedule appointments and are informed of any documentation or information needed to complete their application. Since May 6th, workshops have been held in Seaside Heights, Beach Haven, Sea Bright, Ocean City, Atlantic City, Manasquan and Moonachie, with assistance provided to over 60 businesses. Additional workshops are being scheduled in towns where a need is identified.
To date, over 510 impacted businesses in New Jersey have been approved for grants and loans totaling more than $54.7 million. Additionally, the EDA has recommended the approval of eleven municipalities for Streetscape grants totaling $10 million under the Stronger NJ Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR) program. Also under NCR, the EDA has provided $2.5 million in grants to five Community Development Financial Institutions offering recovery loans to Sandy-impacted small businesses.
The Stronger NJ programs are funded through New Jersey’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Similar to other Sandy relief grant programs, there are strict federal eligibility requirements to which the EDA and applicants must comply.
For more information on the Stronger NJ Business programs, visit http://application.njeda.com/strongernjbusiness or call EDA’s Sandy hotline at 1-855-SANDY-BZ (1-855-726-3929).