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EDA renews calls to businesses to apply for Sandy aid

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A worker takes stock of Sandy-related damage to Grove Street Bicycles in the days after the storm.
A worker takes stock of Sandy-related damage to Grove Street Bicycles in the days after the storm. - (Grove Street Bicycles)

The Economic Development Authority announced Thursday that it had awarded two Stronger NJ business grants to a pair of Jersey City businesses damaged in Hurricane Sandy.

But in doing so, it also urged more businesses to apply for the grants, especially as the application deadline has been pushed from Oct. 31 to the end of the year.

Since May, when the program came online, 102 businesses have received grants totaling more than $5 million, and additional aid is still available, according to the EDA.

"Many businesses still need help nearly one year after superstorm Sandy, and the state has resources to help," agency CEO Michele Brown said in a release. "I encourage any Sandy-damaged business to call us. We have program experts ready to help eligible businesses complete applications."

The businesses that received grants Thursday, Animal Bikes and Grove Street Bicycles, both are owned by Ralph Sinisi. Each grant was worth $50,000.

At Grove Street, a full-service bike shop, Sinisi said storm surge flooding racked up $100,000 in damages to inventory and repair tools. Animal Bikes, which serves as a manufacturer and distributor of bicycle parts and clothing, saw some wind damage to its building and experienced a 10-day disruption of business due to power outages.

Related: The cleanup at Grove Street Bicycles


"We took a big hit last holiday season, as it was difficult to get the stock we needed in time for the holidays, but thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of our staff, we're optimistic about this year," Sinisi said in a statement. "The support we have received from the state has been a great help."

Businesses have up to a year after receiving approval for a grant to submit receipts and invoices for their eligible expenses to the EDA. The authority has held a number of grant-related workshops for business owners, with two more scheduled in Ocean County next week.

Businesses have been slow to apply for aid programs following Sandy. Deadlines to register for aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency were frequently pushed back, and the EDA said in July its Sandy aid has been a tough sell to business owners.

 

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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