Solo entrepreneur Debra Hoy opened her hair salon, Executive Cuts, in downtown Trenton in 1998. Twenty years and one expansion to her current location later, Executive Cuts is flourishing on Lafayette Street and is attracting customers from city neighborhoods and surrounding towns.
Now, with support through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Business Improvement Incentive (BII) Program, Hoy is poised to make renovations that will enhance the 600-square-foot salon and greater community. These updates include replacing the flooring, painting, light fixtures, and counters, as well as making repairs to the sidewalks in front of the facility.
Together with the Business Lease Incentive (BLI) Program, the BII Program is designed to support the growth of first-floor retail and services businesses operating in eligible commercial areas of Atlantic City, Camden, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton.
Administered by the NJEDA in collaboration with these local communities, the BII Program offers grants of up to 50 percent of total project costs for small businesses that are planning to make improvements to their property. The grant amount cannot exceed $20,000, with a minimum project cost of $5,000. The program is available to first-floor businesses in targeted commercial corridors.
As a small business owner and a resident of Trenton, Hoy has a vested interest in the Capital City’s renaissance.
“I love being part of the downtown Trenton community and am very excited that the upgrades we’re making will contribute to the overall beautification of the area,” Hoy said. “Support from the BII Program will enable me to preserve precious capital, which I will be able to use for other things, such as hiring a new stylist and assistant.”
Hoy added that she also plans to engage the services of several local contractors for the renovations.
In addition to the BII Program, the BLI Program offers reimbursement of fifteen percent of annual lease payments for two years to for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations in eligible areas that plan to lease between 500 and 5,000 square feet of new or additional market-rate, first-floor office, industrial or retail space for a minimum five-year term. An applicant leasing over 5,000 square feet can be eligible, but the BLI grant will only incentivize the first 5,000 square feet.
“The economic vibrancy of New Jersey cities is dependent on the sustainability of small businesses like Executive Cuts,” NJEDA Director of Small Business Services Christina Fuentes said. “We encourage entrepreneurs to discover how the BII and BLI Programs can help them prosper and contribute to economic momentum in downtown areas.”
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