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Morgan County businesses get state grants to grow their business

Jun 15, 2023 09:30AM ● By Linda Petersen

Six Morgan County businesses have been awarded state grants to help them with economic development. This year a total of $50,000 was available for Morgan businesses under the Rural Economic Opportunity grant Part A, compared to $30,000 last year, County Commissioner Blaine Fackrell told his peers at the May 3, county commission meeting.

“This is not through any of our county funds; it is only through that economic opportunity grant,” he said.

This grant program for small businesses originated because prior to giving the counties these funds the state had a fast-track grant program which Morgan County businesses participated in more than any other county, Andrew Willis Director of the small business development center at Davis Tech Business Resource Center told the commissioners. “They were shocked to see what the business climate was like in Morgan County.” 

Grant recipients were chosen by a committee that includes Willis and Fackrell.

“This is not just going to line their pockets, the businesses, because a business that survives and flourishes in Morgan County, we have a tax base for,” Fackrell said, referring to the sales taxes those businesses would generate. “Plus, it might give more opportunities for more employees also. The main reason for this is to help bring in more money into our county.’

The grants are intended for existing businesses that are in a position to use the funds to accelerate their growth rather than new startups without a history of sales.

The businesses that have qualified for the grant funding are using it in various ways. Morgan Gym and Mountain Green gym will receive $6,000 with the focus on the Morgan Gym. Marina Eldridge hopes that the improved website will allow them to attract more customers and enable them to add more group classes, along with increased sales and hiring more fitness professionals.

Shirts to a T will use the $12,250 it has been granted to purchase a new embroidery machine and upgrade its website. They hope this increased production capacity will lead to an increase in sales and create at least two more jobs, and that the upgraded website will result in an improved online experience for customers.

Brighten Blades will receive $5,200 to fund additional marketing support. They have contracted with local businesses for these services so the grant funding will help with their sales and profit too.

Higbee Honey will purchase 64 new hives from Californian almond groves with the $11,550 they will receive. Owner Michael Higbee plans to immediately split those hives into 128 new hives which he intends to split over the summer until he reaches 300 hives. This is expected to significantly increase sales and provide more local jobs.

The $5,000 that SOS Drive through receives will help develop an outdoor patio and seating area for the drive through and food trucks. Which they hope will increase customers and sales.

Phoenix House in Mountain Green will receive $10,000 for expanded prep space, dry and cold storage, improved signage and expanded parking, along with funding for direct amil pieces to Mountain Green Residents many of whom do not know that the business is there.

“For small businesses this is really exciting to see,” Commissioner Jared Anderson said. “First of all, these dollars are appropriated for this and not to be used for roads or other things, so I think it’s just an exciting process. λ

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