CONTACT: Bryan Dominique, Communications Manager, at [email protected] or (253) 392-4221
TACOMA – The Pierce County Council approved Ordinance No. 2023-69s on Tuesday, Dec. 5, establishing a Small Business Strengthening and Security Grant Program to increase the viability and security of small businesses in unincorporated Pierce County and its small cities and or towns with a population less than 8,000.
Under the program, eligible small businesses in Pierce County can apply for the reimbursement of 50% of eligible costs, up to a maximum $10,000 grant reimbursement. Eligible expenses include any capital purchase, such as purchasing equipment, appliances, furniture or the cost of facility improvements or expansion. In response to recent business concerns about security, the program also specifically highlights potential capital expenditures related to improving security, such as lighting, alarms, cameras, secure entrance doors, bollards, fencing, or other devices.
This is a matching grant program, meaning the cost must be matched by an equal amount from the business. For example, if a restaurant needs to purchase a new freezer for a total cost of $16,000, they could apply to the County for a grant of $8,000.
An eligible business must operate from a commercial property in unincorporated Pierce County or in a small city or town with a population less than 8,000, have ongoing operations for at least two years, and not have more than 20 full-time employees. The cities and towns meeting the population criteria are Buckley, Carbonado, Eatonville, Fircrest, Milton, Pacific, Roy, Ruston, South Prairie, Steilacoom, and Wilkeson.
“This will have a real and lasting impact for our small businesses,” said Councilmember Dave Morell (District 1), whose district includes many small cities and towns eligible for the program. “This grant is funded with the American Rescue Plan Act. You often hear people say ARPA money is meant to help communities ‘come out of the pandemic better than when we went into it’. This investment of ARPA money in our small businesses helps us in doing just that.”
The program will be administered by Pierce County’s Economic Development Department. The Council will receive periodic reports on the program. The ordinance now heads to the Office of the Executive for signature.
“I’m so excited that we’re able to offer this to our small businesses, so often owned by our neighbors and friends,” said Councilmember Robyn Denson (District 7). “Small businesses serve as the backbone of our local economy. By supporting our small businesses, we support the success of our communities.