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5 Ocean City businesses receive Stronger NJ grants

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Five different Ocean City businesses have been awarded Stronger NJ business grants, the state Economic Development Authority announced Thursday.

Pelican Pete's Island Car Wash, Neal's A&D Tire Service, Christina's Butterfly Boutique, Making Waves and Serendipity Bed and Breakfast were the announced recipients.

The program offers grants of up to $50,000 to businesses that were damaged during superstorm Sandy. The EDA says that it has thus far approved over $6.6 million in grants to 132 businesses statewide.

At Making Waves, a clothing store, the storm resulted in a complete loss of inventory. Three other locations along the shore also saw damage from the storm.

"The damage from the storm was terrible, but the disruption in business following the storm added insult to injury," owner Francine Keller said in the release. "The Stronger NJ Business Grant is really helping us get back on track."

For Serendipity owner Karen Morella, damage to her place of business also meant damage to her home.

"Returning to our business, which is also our home, to survey the damage following the storm was completely overwhelming," Morella said in the release. "Our recovery hasn't been easy, but with the help of our neighbors and some trusted contractors, we are now doing fine. We truly appreciate the grant the state has provided."

As it has previously advertised, the EDA will continue to accept applications for Stronger NJ grants until Dec. 31. The authority is also hosting a series of workshops regarding the grant, with events scheduled this month in Atlantic, Ocean and Monmouth counties.

"We encourage any business with at least $5,000 in damage from the storm to contact us as there are still funds available to support small businesses," EDA CEO Michele Brown said in the release. "The Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan programs can help business owners fund the gap between the resources they have available and what they need to get their businesses back to where they were before the storm."

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