AMHERST — The Downtown Amherst Foundation announced that the second round of grants from the Relief and Resiliency grant program have been made available to 28 Amherst businesses from the retail, restaurant, and service sectors. The funding arrives as more businesses open up and prepare for in-store services, shopping, and dining.
Restaurants and eateries to receive awards are Arigato, Kaiju, Momo Tibetan, Oriental Flavor, Osteria Vespa, Sunset Grill & Pizza, Wheelhouse (a catering company located in the former Lumberyard restaurant space), and the Subways on Main Street and College Street (owned and operated by locals).
Retailers awarded are Dion Tack, J. Austin Antiques, Knowles Flower Shop, and Mystery Train Records. Salons, spas, and health clubs awarded are Global Cuts, Absolutely Hair, Amherst Extensions & Beauty Supply, Artressa Salon, Casimir Kocot Salon, Eliana’s Barbershop, Electrolysis by Athena & Lorraine, Elements Hot Tub & Spa, Hair by Harlow, Hair East, and Sandy’s Barber Shop. Service-sector awards go to Amherst Copy & DesignWorks, Hampshire Athletic Club, Fitness Together, and Paul’s Shoe Repair.
The funds help business owners and staff struggling with lower customer volume while navigating staffing, services, and fiscal obligations like paying suppliers, while staying healthy and safe. Kevin Grimard at Paul’s Shoe Repair, who has been in business for 32 years, taking over from his father, who opened in 1960, said, “I’ve done really well all these years in Amherst and never thought in my life something like this would happen.”
The fundraising effort has garnered more than $300,000, with generous recent donations from Applied Mortgage and the Amherst Rotary Club, along with numerous donations from residents.
The Downtown Amherst Foundation has secured personal protective equipment (PPE), and will distribute gallons of hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves to Amherst businesses. Jay Paulo, owner of the Subway on Main Street, as well as a part-time EMT in Springfield, said the PPE is most welcome as supplies remain very limited.
The town of Amherst was also able to secure a $10,000 grant from the Solomon Foundation, which it has awarded to the Downtown Amherst Foundation. The DAF will match this grant and will use it to purchase umbrellas and large planters for shade trees to enhance the outdoor dining experience. The Amherst Downtown Business Improvement District will be working with the Department of Public Works to string café lighting along the streetscapes to create a welcoming and vibrant nighttime setting.
To donate to the Downtown Amherst Foundation, visit downtownamherstfoundation.org or send a check to 35 South Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002.