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November 8, 2023

14 central Maine businesses receive grants for pandemic recovery

person smiling and holding a plate of bagels in a kitchen COURTESY / SUNRISE BAGEL Tiffany Lopes, an Economic Recovery Implementation Hub grantee, opened Sunrise Bagel in Waterville in 2021 and expanded to Augusta earlier this year.

The Central Maine Growth Council in Waterville awarded 14 grants to early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs in Kennebec and Somerset counties, with a goal of supporting recovery from pandemic impacts.

The council’s inaugural Economic Recovery Implementation Hub grant program awarded a total of $325,000 and is still accepting applications from eligible businesses.

The money comes from Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development. Grants range from $5,000 to $49,000. The program has a focus on women- and minority-owned operations. 

“Newly located in downtown Waterville, Main Street Provisions’ success is greatly attributed to the thoughtful grant funding we've received” through the program, said Zach Brann, owner of Main Street Provisions, one of the recipients. “The support provided has enabled us to increase our inventory, propel our expansion, and cultivate a welcoming community environment.” 

store front and sidewalk with signs
Courtesy / Central Maine Growth Council
Main Street Provisions, an Economic Recovery Implementation Hub grantee, opened last month in Waterville.

Brann opened the store, featuring Maine and New England products, last month at 62 Main St. in Waterville. He told Mainebiz at the time the venture was a vote a confidence in the downtown’s major transformation in recent years.

Other recipients

The regional economic development program and associated funding are being utilized to support existing operations, has helped nest a new business in the region, purchase equipment, hire employees, overcome pandemic related revenue loss and more. To be eligible for the grant program, businesses must demonstrate proof of pandemic impact and be operating in Somerset or Kennebec County on or after Jan. 1, 2020. 

The program is “a significant stride in bolstering economic revitalization in Kennebec and Somerset County,” said Garvan Donegan, the council’s director of planning, innovation and economic development.

“With a total regional grant fund of approximately $700,000, these grants have been instrumental in supporting fourteen impactful businesses so far, marking a pivotal moment in our shared objectives to empower local enterprises and stimulate economic growth in our region while maintaining a focus on local small businesses, entrepreneurs, and economic resilience,” he said.

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