DSI receives $25,000 grant

Pictured, from left, are: Pete Wehr: Vice President of Zone Operations, Duke Energy; Peggy Popelars: President, DSI; Indira Everett, Director of Government & Community Relations, Duke Energy, and Randy Jones, Southport Director of Tourism / Public Information and City Liaison to DSI.

Downtown Southport Inc. (DSI) has received a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to establish a small-business support microgrant program.

The foundation distributed $750,000 in Hometown Revitalization grants to 30 communities throughout the state to help local businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic.

“The Duke Energy Hometown Revitalization grant will provide important relief and stabilization for our small-business owners who have faced challenges for over two years,” said Peggy Popelars, DSI president. “This will be an important part of their recovery and future.”

Each community was awarded $25,000 through a partnership with these local 501(c)(3)-administering nonprofits. The administering entity will establish a small-business support microgrant program to deploy the funding within their local community.

“After our success in supporting the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which was the model for this program, we knew that a series of targeted grants could do wonders to help North Carolina businesses and storefronts recover,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “We were astounded by the number and quality of the applications, so we decided to increase the foundation’s commitment and help even more downtown communities bounce back.”

The Hometown Revitalization grant program was inspired by a successful collaboration between the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Duke Energy that provided nearly 100 grants to downtown Raleigh storefronts. The grants allowed the establishments the opportunity to create outdoor seating and serving opportunities, develop e-commerce websites, repair window fronts, and upgrade health and safety elements.

To qualify for the Southport Hometown Revitalization Grant Program, a small business must have less than 50 employees, have an active EIN, be a taxpaying entity and be operating within the city limits of Southport.

Microgrants will range from $500 to $2,500 per qualifying business/applicant and are intended to help small businesses recover or “pivot” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A pivot may include adding enhanced service or commerce space, improving e-commerce sites for online sales or expanding capacity for delivering goods and services. Some expenditures may include furniture for expanded outdoor dining, construction costs for take-out windows, or additional fixtures required for compliance with public health issues.

Applications must be postmarked by November 24 to qualify. Recipients will be announced January 10, 2022.

For detailed information on the grant program, a complete list of qualifications and a grant application, visit www.DowntownSouthport.com or www.CityofSouthport.com. Business owners may also call 910-279-4616 or 910-475-7920 and leave their phone number and email address to receive a return call.