By Jessica Mathews /

A coffee shop in downtown Howell has been awarded a grant aimed at supporting small local businesses to create resiliency and strengthen downtowns.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced Monday that 19 communities around the state that have been awarded a total of $491,834 in “Match on Main” (MoM) program grants.

In the City of Howell, Uptown Coffeehouse at 102 East Grand River was awarded $25,000. The independently-owned coffeehouse was established in 2002 and has become a community staple.

The MEDC’s Match on Main program provides funding to communities that participate as a select and master level community in the Michigan Main Street program or are a Certified Redevelopment Ready community. The communities, who receive the grant funding from the MEDC, in turn award grants of up to $25,000 to eligible businesses seeking support.

Grants may be used by the business for eligible expenses that support technical assistance, interior building renovations, permanent or semi-permanent activation of an outdoor space, permanent or semi-permanent business infrastructure related to COVID-19 recovery efforts, and other working capital needs such as marketing needs and inventory expenses. Additional needs identified by the business and supported by the local community are also considered.

MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman said in a press release that “Thriving small businesses are the cornerstone of what makes Michigan’s downtowns unique and authentic while helping to create economic opportunity across the state. With the support of the Match on Main program, we can help local businesses grow and create jobs, while further developing vibrant and attractive places where people want to live, work, visit and play”.

The grants are expected to create or retain 135 full-time jobs, and the projects are expected to generate a total private investment of more than $2.9 million.

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