Deadline is Friday for Gaffney Main Street Challenge - FOX Carolina 21

Deadline is Friday for Gaffney Main Street Challenge

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Get into Gaffney Main Street Challenge (Source: Get into Gaffney website) Get into Gaffney Main Street Challenge (Source: Get into Gaffney website)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

If you're a budding entrepreneur looking to open up shop, you've got a little time left to submit an application for the 2017 Main Street Challenge.

The Gaffney Main Street Program modeled the 2017 Main Street Challenge after a similar program was held by the City of Spartanburg for two years. Six new startup businesses opened in downtown Spartanburg including a juice bar, dog grooming salon and hiking store, thanks to the success of their competition.

The challenge is an entrepreneurial startup competition which takes place over a period of roughly nine months to aid in revitalization efforts and promote available properties in the downtown area, as well as promote Gaffney as a place to open a business. At the same time, it provides a means by which local, area and regional entrepreneurs can advance their desire to expand or open a new business. 

Business ideas of all kinds will be considered, however the selection team will be looking specifically for "ideas that will spur growth and increase traffic and sales in the downtown area, such as restaurants, cafes and retail stores." Existing business may also apply as an expansion or relocation.

"This challenge affords a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and enhances our efforts at revitalizing Gaffney's historic downtown," Mark Chandler, chairman of Gaffney's Main Street program, said in a prepared statement. "This grant coupled with the ongoing façade grant program will certainly renew the interests and vitality of Gaffney's main street."

Patty Bock, economic development director for the City of Spartanburg, worked with the Spartanburg Main Street Challenge, and will play an advisory role in Gaffney's Main Street Challenge, according to a release.

The following details were shared about the competition in a release: 

A selection team made up of various local business professionals and residents will choose semifinalists from the applications received. bGEN, the business generator located in downtown Gaffney, has offered to work with the semifinalists to design a five-year business plan to be presented to the selection team April 3. Three Main Street Challenge recipients will then be chosen and announced by May 30.

The Gaffney Main Street Program received a $25,000 grant from the Municipal Association of South Carolina to use for the challenge, and the City of Gaffney matched the grant for 15 percent, providing $3,800. The three recipients of the Gaffney Main Street Challenge will each receive approximately $14,000 in incentives and in-kind services, including funds for a year's rent and other startup expenses, office supplies, advertising, bookkeeping services, and signage, among others. Challenge recipients must open their business in the designated main street district by Oct. 1.

If all goes according to plan, downtown Gaffney will become home to new businesses later this year. All Main Street Challenge winners must open in a downtown location by October 1.

Applications for the 2017 Main Street Challenge are available at the Gaffney Visitors Center and Art Gallery on 201 West Frederick Street or online here. They are due by Friday, February 24.

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