Carthage Century Committee receives grant for small businesses

The Carthage Century Committee recently received a $25,000 Hometown Revitalization Grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support small businesses in downtown Carthage.

Recognizing the tremendous value small businesses across Duke Energy’s NC service territory bring to creating vibrant downtowns, the Duke Energy Foundation awarded a total of $500,000 to 20 nonprofits across the state.

“As a longtime Carthage Century Committee member and board member, I am both pleased and excited we are going to administer this Duke Energy Foundation Hometown Revitalization grant. Our committee was originally created for the sole purpose of supporting economic activity in our town and we’ve worked diligently through the years to keep our downtown viable. These funds will greatly enhance our commitment to help today’s Carthage downtown small businesses grow and prosper. Thank you, Duke Energy Foundation, for this opportunity,” said Pat Jackson, Carthage Century Committee Member.

Matthew Powers, Chairman of the Carthage Century Committee, said, “‘This is a great opportunity that will benefit multiple small businesses in downtown Carthage.”

Under the grant, the Carthage Century Committee will administer a program to provide funding between $500 and $2,500 to eligible small businesses in the Carthage downtown area. Individual grants can be used by businesses to:

• Enhance service or commerce opportunities by modifying physical space, acquiring technology to improve online sales, or expanding capacity for delivery of goods or services.

• Expand outdoor capacity by purchasing furniture for outdoor seating, constructing takeout windows, making outdoor seating more accessible, or acquiring fixtures required for compliance with public health issues.

• Beautify storefronts with exterior paint, awnings, signage, or planters.

• Implement tools or programs to support workforce needs, such as recruitment or training programs.

Ineligible expenses include payroll, incentive pay, rent, and utilities. Carthage small businesses can use grant funding to reimburse them for expenses incurred after Jan. 1 and through Dec. 31, 2023.

“I think that this grant is an amazing opportunity to support our downtown businesses, many of whom are struggling with the aftershocks of the COVID pandemic. Carthage is a resilient community, and has been for over 150 years, and its resiliency is made stronger by its people and businesses. I am thankful for the support of the Carthage Century Committee and their commitment to our community, specifically its economic health. This grant funding will go a long way toward helping our businesses weather these struggles and I am very proud to serve a community that is committed to growing stronger together,” said Carthage Town Manager Emily Yopp.

To be eligible for funding under the program, a Carthage small business must employ less than 50 employees and have a storefront presence in the downtown area. Nonprofits that meet these requirements may also apply if they operate a storefront small business, like a resale store or a cafe. Government organizations and businesses that do not operate a storefront (e.g., offices) are not eligible for funding under this grant program.

Applications will be made available to Carthage small businesses no later than Oct. 31 with completed applications due Dec. 1. Once the application period opens, businesses may obtain an application on the Town of Carthage website at or in person at Carthage Town Hall located at 4396 Hwy 15-501 Carthage, NC.

A selection committee appointed by the Carthage Century Committee will review all completed applications and award announcements will be made by Jan. 15, 2023.

“As the backbone of our economy, small businesses account for nearly 70% of all businesses in Moore County. These funds will go directly into the hands of a wonderful array of small businesses in Carthage to help them be more successful and contribute more to the local economy,” said Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director of Moore County Partners in Progress Economic Development.

She added, “A big thanks goes to longtime Carthage Century Committee member and small business advocate Tommy Phillips for identifying and pursuing this grant opportunity on behalf of Carthage small businesses.”

Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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