City of Raleigh tries to educate business owners on incentives

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh officials are looking to help more businesses open up along the city’s targeted economic development zones.

They’re reaching out to the public to let entrepreneurs know that there are more incentives than ever.

The City held a public meeting Thursday evening to educate business owners about several grants available.

The grants have helped already helped multiple businesses get a head start.

“When we purchased the building in 2006 we had budgeted for the renovation of the space and then very soon realized that we were not going to have enough,” said Angela Salamanca, owner of El Centro.

Salamanca was one of the first businesses to open up downtown when the city was trying to revitalize the area a decade ago.

She qualified for a $5,000 matching Façade Rehabilitation Grant that she used for “two entrances to the building and then the matching windows, the big windows that are in the front.”

So far 120 businesses have used the Façade Grant.

And now, the City is expanding the program in scope and geographic eligibility.

“Any resources that we can use from the City to like improve our businesses are a go for sure,” said Salamanca.

Other incentives are helping bring stores downtown as well, including the Building Up-Fit Grant given by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

“We added the track lighting in the store and were able to build a back storage area,” said Kelly Wohlgenant, owner of Retro Modern Furnishings.

Wohlgenant just made the jump to a store front a couple months ago.

Before then she only had a space in someone else’s store.

She said the grant from the DRA was a big reason she set up shop in the heart of the city.

“It was something I was already considering before I heard about the program but it definitely, I guess it game me that final push to go ahead and move forward,” said Wohlgenant.

Click here for more information on the Façade Rehabilitation and Business Investment Grants.

Click here for more information on the Downtown Raleigh Alliance’s Retail Building Up-Fit Grant.

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