Local Businesses Provided Resources through Norwescap Community Development Program to Remain in Business
PHILLIPSBURG, NJ December 16, 2020– At a time when businesses have to make the tough decisions as to whether or not they will financially survive through this pandemic, Norwescap is providing resources to local businesses to keep their doors open. Founded in 1965 as an organization to fight poverty, Norwescap has evolved to grow beyond safety net programs and has expanded operations to include “upstream” strategies to prevent people throughout northwest New Jersey from falling into poverty. Norwescap invests in individuals, families, and communities through six key domains: education, employment, financial empowerment, health, housing and community development, and volunteerism and civic engagement. Norwescap’s Community Development program along with a team of volunteers and local business owners have been able to put together a Covid Relief package that will help eligible businesses to keep the lights on, retain their employees and generate revenue.
Norwescap aggressively pursued Federal CARES Act funding, available through the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, to provide at least 17 local businesses with over $230,000 in Covid Relief grants. Through New Jersey’s ‘Neighborhood Preservation Program’ and the ‘Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit’ programs, Norwescap applied for and received funding to cover critical business operating costs such as: rent/mortgage; utility payments; minor facilities improvements to allow for social distancing and Covid-safety improvements; and funding to help businesses purchase much needed PPE.
Phillipsburg businesses will also have the opportunity to build or enhance their websites, allow them to compete in the ever changing digital landscape. E-commerce is critical to the survival of many of the mom and pop shops that support the local economy especially if shut-downs continue throughout the state.
“The pandemic has hit every community in unimaginable ways and it’s no surprise that small businesses are experiencing financial challenges,” stated Norwescap’s CEO, Mark Valli. “Norwescap is rooted in the communities we serve and we wanted to find a way to help small businesses sustain themselves and prepared for the future. The CARES Act funding was the answer to this immediate need so our Community Development Team did not hesitate to go after funding we knew would tremendously help the business owners. Norwescap has a State approved NRTC plan for the Parnassus Neighborhood which allows us to promote homeownership and small businesses, so we had access to these funds. Also, as a partner with the Town in the NPP program we were able to apply for additional CARES funds made available by DCA. Phillipsburg, like many communities, has a long history of generations carrying on the family business which appeals to many of the new entrepreneurs, who in spite of the pandemic were able to open a new business in the spirit of innovation, and we want to support resilient communities.”
Donna Schaare, owner of Jiorles Office Supply shared that “In the 47 years that our business has been on South Main St in Phillipsburg, I can’t remember anyone working so hard for the downtown businesses; it is truly appreciated!” In a letter to Norwescap from Lorraine D’Sylva-Lee of LEE Services, Mrs. D’Sylva-Lee seconds that by saying “During this time of great uncertainty, we at LEE Services have been comforted, encouraged, and humbled by the tremendous support Norwescap provides through the work you do each day and most recently in administering the small business grant we received,” she continues, “your approach to serving our community embodies the care and attention you devote to finding new ways to address critical issues, to courageously exhaust all methods of communication, and to your commitment to strengthen our collective resolve to overcome this pandemic”.
While Norwescap helped numerous local businesses remain open, unfortunately due to federal eligibility requirements there were businesses that did not qualify for funding. However, Norwescap was able to purchase additional PPE and is in the process of distributing hand sanitizing equipment, thermometers and other resources to business who did not qualify.
“I have been working closely with many of the local business owners here in Phillipsburg and they are really incredible people,” said Mary Jo Harris, Norwescap’s Community Development Manager. “Some of these owners have been here for decades, some are 3rd generation business owners in this town. The thought of them having to shut down after all these years, is just heart breaking and devastating to the community. We are truly thankful that DCA made these funds available to Norwescap. This is a much needed lifeline for these small businesses. By Norwescap helping these businesses stay open we are keeping people employed and supporting a healthy community.”
Norwescap provides vital services to over 30,000 individuals and families in need in Northwest New Jersey. Our programs include strategies that address the critical areas of education, health and wellness, employment, financial empowerment, housing and energy, and volunteerism. Since our inception, we have been dedicated to achieving the mission of creating opportunities to transform lives through innovative programs and partnerships. For more information, please visit www.norwescap.org