Council expands loan/grant program to include locally owned businesses

Ashley Inge
Stephenville City Council members discuss expanding the loan/grant program during Tuesday's meeting.

The Stephenville City Council approved the expansion of the city’s loan/grant program during a special meeting on Tuesday.

The expansion includes locally owned downtown businesses and for-profit retail businesses within the city limits with gross annual sales of less than $1 million.

In April, the council came up with the loan/grant program and decided it would be a joint effort between the city and the Stephenville Economic Development Authority (SEDA) designed to assist one-on-one businesses – like barbershops and hair salons – that were required to close by Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders.

The loan/grant program was patterned after the 3P that would make loans to these businesses in the amount not to exceed $2,500.

Allen Barnes, city manager, said 10 of those grants were awarded for a total of $25,000. There are currently 14 left for a total of $35,000.

City leadership recommended expanding the loan program to reach other local businesses in need, such as for-profit retail businesses within the city limits of Stephenville.

“We have come up with a way to impact retail businesses in our community with a gross annual sale of less than one million dollars,” Barnes said. “It certainly would not avail itself to the Walmart's of the world, but it would help some of our larger sales local businesses that $2,500 may make a difference to.”

Two notable changes have been made to the Round 2 application process.

The first change is that each applicant will be required to participate in the targeted marketing campaign offered by SEDA.

The second change is that each business will be required to submit a photocopy or proof of their most recent sales tax payment, not just verbally confirm.

Business applicants can apply on the SEDA web page through Sept. 30, or until funding has been exhausted.