Central Station Marketplace and Antiques owners Mary and Ed Beck recently transformed the entrance to their North Scranton business with some do-it-yourself ingenuity and help from the City of Scranton.
Mary and Ed received one of Scranton’s Business Façade Improvement grants that are part of the City’s $68.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to spruce up their store at 1259 Providence Rd., Scranton.
“This kind of night-and-day change for a small business owner is what’s possible through our Rescue Plan small business programs,” said Mayor Paige Cognetti at Central Station Marketplace and Antiques on July 12, 2023.
“Mary and Ed’s hard work is inspiring other improvement projects here in North Scranton. We’re thrilled to see what’s happening across our small business community, made possible because of President Biden’s Rescue Plan.”
In its spending plan approved by City Council in May 2022, the City allocated a total of $500,000 for small business façade improvements.
Applicants can receive up to $10,000 for single stores or up to $20,000 for multiple storefronts with a 25% contribution from the business. The City’s façade grant administrators are NeighborWorks NEPA, Scranton Tomorrow, and United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA.
Central Station Marketplace and Antiques originally opened in 2017 in the Keyser Oak Shopping Center before purchasing their Providence Road location in July 2020. The store features nearly 60 vendors specializing in antiques, vintage and collectible items, primitives, home décor pieces, and more.
“Moving into this spot has been an excellent change,” Mary Beck said. “Improving and updating our storefront through the Scranton façade program will only help our business continue to grow.”
The total project at Central Station cost approximately $16,029, according to the store, and included the removal of unsafe stairs; new lighting, paint, and a metal awning; and some DIY work including new signage and window shutters.
ARPA façade program grants in West Scranton and North Scranton are administered by NeighborWorks NEPA, which is currently managing three projects totaling nearly $52,684 including $35,000 in Scranton ARPA grant funding.
NeighborWorks’ separate independent “Best Side of West Side” façade program has completed five additional façade projects totaling $51,177 including $21,558 in grants.
Because of the work at Central Station Marketplace, the neighboring Fratelli’s Restaurant, 1249 Providence Road, has started its application to receive aid for their storefront projects.
Additionally, National Bakery is pursuing façade improvements at its Pine Brook location at 1100 Capouse Avenue and its Pastry Shop at 1303 North Main Avenue, with UNC administering those grant applications.
United Neighborhood Centers currently has one project valued at $13,000, including $10,000 in ARPA funds underway in Pine Brook, and a second project in South Scranton is awaiting final contractor bids.
Scranton Tomorrow has approved five façade grant applications for projects downtown totaling approximately $46,000 in improvements, including $34,000 in ARPA grants.
Applications for the first round of the façade program remain open through September 20, 2023.
Other ARPA funding opportunities for small businesses remain open. Startup and Expansion grants of up to $100,000 remain open with applications accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Applications are under review for business recovery grants up to $25,000 and Wage Boost grants up to $50,000 over two years.
Information about Scranton’s ARPA plan is online at scrantonpa.gov/arpa.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA) OF 2021: ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill. The City of Scranton received $68.7 million in ARPA funds to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and its economic impacts. The mission of Scranton’s ARPA program is to give people access to resources, rebuild the infrastructure systems that impact their everyday lives, and foster equitable wealth generation that targets the needs of Scranton residents.
Last modified: August 4, 2023