Yoakum awards business enhancement grants
Oct. 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.
YOAKUM - Cheryl Loos is grateful that her To Do list is finally growing shorter.
Loos, owner of Karl's Flowers in Yoakum, was awarded $6,947.22 as part of the Yoakum Economic Development Corporation enhancement program for 2011-12.
"The grant money is finally giving me a chance to finish up the list at the moment," Loos said. "We had gotten to the end of what we were able to accomplish with the monies we had."
The flower shop is one of 12 businesses and organizations that received funds.
Loos' list of improvements include dropping a ceiling in the back workroom to conserve energy, a new sign, repainting, landscaping, and repairing and replacing old cabinetry.
Loos, who has been in the flower business in Yoakum about 29 years, moved to her current location at 219 Irvine St. about six years ago.
Not far down the block from the flower shop, Kathy Perez has already reaped the benefits of the grant program. Kathy's Boutique, 101 Irvine St., received funds in 2010.
The assistance helped her expand her business as well as repave the parking lot. The expansion also enabled her to add jobs.
"I wouldn't have been able to expand without the grant," Perez said.
Perez also lauded the grant requirement that applicants work with the Small Business Development Center in Victoria on their business plan.
"They really helped me learn how to run my business better financially," she said. "It's really a good program."
Perez has owned her shop for 13 years, nine at her present location.
Now in its third year, the YEDC's Enhancement Program is designed to "take care of our own," said Pat Kennedy, Yoakum economic and community development coordinator.
"The board decided that we need to do business expansion and retention. We need to take care of our existing folks," Kennedy said.
The corporation's board had budgeted $50,000 for the 2011-12 program, but a total of $63,991.90 was awarded during Monday's meeting.
The Business Retail Enhancement Program works to stimulate activity at businesses that collect and report sales tax in the city limits.
The Business District Preservation Program works to preserve, protect, enhance and encourage activity in the 24-block downtown business district.
The Community Services Program provides support to nonprofit organizations within the Yoakum trade area.
The grant programs are all cost reimbursement, requiring the work to be completed before funds are dispersed.
For more information about the Enhancement Program, contact Kennedy at 361-293-6321.