Getting money back on your taxes is always a plus. The city of Staunton wants small businesses to get money back among other incentives for operating in the Queen City through an enterprise zone grant.
An enterprise zone is a special area of the city where officials want to encourage new business and tourism. As owners of Pufferbellies, Erin Blanton and her mom, save a few hundred dollars each year through the enterprise zone grants.
"The first incentive is the waiver of local tax on utilities," says Blanton. "The other incentive is the waiver of the fee for your business and occupational license or the gross receipt tax."
Blanton says any amount of money saved is a good thing.
She says, "Any incentive is good and I think it's important for the city to recognize that the downtown is a big part of Staunton."
Some smaller businesses say they can't even apply for the grants because they don't meet financial requirements.
Owner of Staunton Art Supply, Leslie Banta, says, "I thought it was great. We thought we'd qualified, but we haven't improved the real estate, we don't have enough income to pay for part-time employees besides ourselves. So we basically don't qualify for any of the grants that are available."
Banta thinks the city should re-evaluate the help they're giving to medium-sized businesses when smaller mom and pop stores can't qualify. She says when her business becomes more established, she will again try to apply for a grant. So there is hope for the future.
"If we're ever in a position to purchase property downtown and renovate it, I don't think there would be any problems remembering to apply," says Banta. "They're good incentives. We're just far below the cut off."
Applications for the enterprise zone grant are due by March 3.