Businesses and organizations in Culpeper’s downtown footprint can apply to receive up to $1,500 in grant money as part of a micro loan program.
Earlier this summer, the town was awarded $25,000 from the Virginia Main Street Downtown Investment program. A news release from Culpeper Tourism states that money will be administered through the Culpeper Downtown Micro Marketing Leverage Grant, which is meant “to stimulate new advertising, marketing and promotional activity.”
Paige Read, the town’s director of tourism and economic development, said via telephone the state mandated that participating businesses be limited to those within the downtown footprint. She explained that since the grant was backed by the Main Street organization, “we have to focus the end results in our Main Street footprint.”
Read said the Economic Development and Tourism Department had to provide a $20,000 match to receive the grant money, $5,000 of which will be disbursed as micro marketing grants. The bulk of the remaining matching funds, she said, will be directed toward a media campaign marketing Culpeper as a safe destination during the COVID-19 pandemic. A small portion will also go toward the grant program's administration.
She said that applicants will be judged based on a series of criteria and qualified businesses must score 48 out of 60 during the review process.
Read states in the release that “the coronavirus has had a devastating impact on the economy” and “the goal of this micro grant program is to offer funds to businesses and organizations in downtown Culpeper as a first step in re-entering the marketplace to spur economic activity and consumer behavior.”
Read adds that this differs from previous coronavirus-related grant programs that were meant provide operational and payroll assistance.
The release notes that Culpeper Renaissance Inc., an organization that promotes downtown, will help review applications and administer the funds.
Read said that the grant funds will be disbursed on a “first come, first serve” basis.
There is no deadline to apply and more information can be found at VisitCulpeperVA.com/micromarketingleveragegrant.
Those with questions should contact Culpeper Tourism at 540-727-0611 or CulpeperTourism@culpeperva.gov.