Press release: First Round of Grants Announced for Amherst Businesses

The following is a press release republished by Amherst Media.

[Amherst, MA] The Downtown Amherst Foundation’s Grant Review Committee has selected the successful applicants from the first grant-giving cycle with businesses representative of several sectors including restaurants/cafés, bars and pubs, retail establishments and services. Close to $150,000 was awarded to businesses in amounts up to $10,000. 

Amherst Coffee, Bistro 63, Crazy Noodles, Cushman Market, El Comalito, Fresh Side, 

La Veracruzana, LimeRed Teahouse, Miss Saigon, McMurphy’s Uptown Tavern, The Moan and Dove, Pita Pockets, Sibie’s, and Stackers for restaurants and bars. Amherst Books, Fretted Instrument, J. Austin Jewelers, M&M Links, The Bower Studio, The Tox Boy, Zanna for retailers. Cheryl Nina Salon, Matt’s Barbershop, Sei Bella Salon, Styles by Deborah and The Lift Salon for Salon Services. Amherst Fitness, Amherst Inn, Center Dance Studio, Collective Copies/Levellers Press, Hope & Feathers Framing, The Laundry Club and the Yoga Center Amherst for services. 

The Downtown Amherst Foundation is thrilled by the community response with contributions from individuals and families, as well as larger donors like Amherst College. The business and organizational community, itself affected by the COVID 19 shutdown, responded with donations from Amherst Insurance Agency, BankESB, Bueno y Sano, C & H Architects, Encharter Insurance, Felicity Hardee Law Practice, First Church Amherst, Greenfield Northampton Cooperative Bank, HowardEStark Charitable Foundation, Mom’sHouse Chinese Food Market, PeoplesBank, Stakeholders Capital, and the Amherst Business Improvement District. We thank everyone for helping us reach half of our $500K goal in only three weeks time. 

The first round of awards comes at an important junction, two months into the shutdown with no real messaging about what the fall will look like in this college town.  Matt of Matt’s Barbershop said, “Just five minutes before (receiving word of the grant), I was on a phone call discussing if Matt’s Barber Shop was going to make it or break it. The grant helps me think we’re going to make it. Thank you so much, Amherst.” Boravy Puch, an owner of Crazy Noodles was happy to hear some good news from the community she values. “When we opened our doors 14 years ago,  we did so with the intention of sharing some of our favorite foods to a community we were new to. Over the years, you all welcomed us with love and this community became our family and we are tremendously grateful for the support that our family members have shown us during these trying times. Even though our doors are not open now, we will always have a table ready for you when they are.”

Others that did not make the first round awards reflected on the remarkable outpouring of support from the community during this difficult and uncertain time for small businesses. 

The Downtown Amherst Foundation anticipates another round of grants and plan on a more concrete announcement in coming weeks regarding this second round. That announcement will include information as to eligibility, as well as the timing and size offered in this grant cycle.  With the Commonwealth’s announcement of the phased reopening strategy on May 18th, these grants will be focused on helping businesses get up-and-running. Everyone who is interested in maintaining a vibrant Amherst business environment and culture is asked to consider contributing to this fund at