The Silverthorne Town Council and the Silverthorne Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) have announced the second year of the Silverthorne Business Grant Program.
Introduced in 2012, the two-track program offers "site enhancement" grants to Silverthorne businesses for traditional improvements such as façade improvements or architectural upgrades, and "economic development" grants for capital improvements that would bring new jobs or other positive economic impact to the community.
The grants are funded from the Town Council budget, which awarded $43,000 to a total of six businesses in 2012. Interest in the grant program was high even at its beginning, with more than 20 applicants representing funding requests totaling $223,881. The application process is competitive and each request is reviewed by EDAC, a community-based advisory group formed by the council to aid economic development decisions. Grants are open to any commercial business within Silverthorne.
"It was very successful," said Eddie O'Brien, EDAC chair, of the program last year. "The success is based on two things - one, if it improves the business, the income to the business, and number two is, of course, will it increase the number of people that work in that business."
Vista Auto Group, for example, with the funds granted for economic development, purchased the machinery and equipment needed to open a new oil change operation in the building. This led to the hiring of several more employees.
From the site improvement side of things, Red Buffalo Coffee and Tea received a grant to put in a patio with tables and chairs behind the shop, connecting it with the Blue River Trail and recpath.
"We constantly get compliments on it," said owner Erin Young of the new patio. "People come to enjoy a cup of coffee or a pot of tea by the river."
Increasing clients and customer flow is one of the goals of the grant program, O'Brien said.
"We want that economic impact. We're getting ready to go again this year," he said. "Everyone has had a success story with it."
According to Young, the grant program is a much-appreciated show of support from the town.
"I think it's amazing. Over the past three years I've noticed a significant increase in the level of support form the town council and the town of Silverthorne in general for small businesses," she said. "It's such a nice way for them to show their support.
"A lot of the little guys are really appreciating it," she added.
Both EDAC and the council are looking forward to the next round of applications in 2013, said Ryan Hyland, assistant town manager.
"It's just one of the programs that we have in our economic development menu that helps the town to help our local businesses be successful," he said. "At the end of the day, the town can only be as successful as our businesses are."
The 2013 Silverthorne Business Grant Program application deadline is 5 p.m. on May 8. Complete program details and applications are available at www.silverthorne.org and Town Hall, 601 Center Circle, Silverthorne.