A coffee shop coming to town will be the second recipient of Spencer Business Kickstarter Program funds.
Spencer Main Street Director Nancy Naeve said DejaBrew, which plans to open next month at 24 West Park Street, will receive just over $4,400 in part forgivable loan, part revolving loan funding.
The kickstarter program was announced in April. Its mission is to offer funding to new or expanding businesses in Spencer as a recruitment and retention tool.
“We want people to know that we’ve got a new tool in our bag of tools or our toolbox to get people thinking maybe this is the time to open up a business or expand a business or even succession planning.”
Businesses opening or located anywhere in Spencer can apply to receive forgivable and revolving loans with a combined value of up to 30% of a project cost or $50,000, whichever is less.
That funding availability has drummed up interest.
“It’s generated just a ton of interest,” Naeve said. “I take calls weekly.”
Program funding comes from several organizations.
“It’s contributions equally raised from Spencer Main Street, the chamber, the city and then three banks – Community Bank, Northwest Bank and Farmers Bank,” Naeve said.
Members of those partners make up a committee that votes on applications.
Retail applicants are judged based on their ability to fill a retail need in Spencer that residents may seek outside the community and provide a niche product that could generate sales in Spencer.
Other businesses that may not be retail-focused are judged based on whether they diversify the economic base or diversify the community’s occupational mix.
“We do want it to be filling a niche that isn’t being met,” Naeve said.
She added that the review process for applicants is stringent.
“We are being very selective because we just don’t have a pool of money,” Naeve said. “This is money from each of our organizations and businesses.”
Weasy’s Lounge and Grille was the first business to receive funds from the program.