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Grant recipients speak to improvements made to their businesses

By Michael Oliveira

michael@northstarreporter.com

In the final meeting until August, members of the council were joined by several of the recipients of the North Attleborough Business Accelerator grants.

Town Manager Michael Borg invited the owners to the June 24 council meeting and gave them the floor to discuss how their businesses were doing after being granted $25,000. The grants were given a few months ago and done as a way to help businesses continue to grow.

Each owner gave updates on their businesses and discussed what the money was used for, and how it helped them get their businesses going at a quicker pace. They were all very thankful for the money the town granted them.

Heydi Romero, owner of Los Antojitos Restaurant, was one of the grant recipients. When she stepped up to the podium, she said she was very happy with the grant. She said the money was used to work on their basement, which had increased from a $60,000 job to $125,000.

“The funds that we received from the town of North Attleborough was a blessing for the restaurant,” she said. “We were able to finish our basement, increasing over 1,000 square footage in the basement of the building.”

Maria Vilario, who was the owner of Vilario’s Italian Bistro addressed the council on what she had done with the money. He said the money helped him expand his hours for lunch service and hire more staff.

“Now that everything is fine over there, I have the opportunity to repair my ice machine, I can buy a new one, some pans, some microwaves, some paintings and definitely some more people to work at the restaurant,” he said.

Mike Ward from the Straight Edge BarberShop said the grant changed a lot with the dynamics at the business.

“I used the money basically towards remodeling so I can add more stations to the barbershop, but unfortunately with my space, I had to really think outside the box and utilize how to use these funds,” said Ward. “I ended up having to do a full demo from the ground up, tear everything down and build custom stations all the way down the middle that allowed me to add from five stations to three more stations.”

A total of $175,000 was given to the business owners and the idea was for the economy to be boosted by bringing jobs, services, an independent pharmacy, and adding restaurants, and services that exist in the town.

“We had an opportunity, we saw it, and took advantage of it, thank you for the support with that.” Borg continued.

Councilor Mark Gould followed this statement up by saying, “Thank you to all these businesses that are helping our local economy build, the question would be how do we do this again.”

The town is looking to open up some more money from the municipal budget to make another accelerator grant to continuously help small businesses around North Attleborough grow.

Borg has been working with state Sen. Paul Feeney to try and make this happen.

“I’ve asked Senator Feeney and Rep. Scanlon if they would find additional funds for us as well,” Borg said. “So, I wouldn’t rule it out, but it’s also something that was quite a task that we took on.”

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