Cooper’s Seafood House awarded $105,000 as City plans more small business grants
- A total of $3 million in funding is available through January 2023.
- ARPA grants include small business financial recovery and innovative wage boost.
- Loan-to-grant award for Cooper’s will aid job creation at the well-known eatery.
SCRANTON, PA. – The City of Scranton announced aid for an iconic local business Monday as it outlined plans to provide up to $3 million to small business owners through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Mayor Paige G. Cognetti was joined by U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D, PA-8), representatives from Sen. Bob Casey’s office (D-PA), the Scranton Area Community Foundation, and owners from Cooper’s Seafood House for today’s announcements.
“It’s a great time to be a small business owner in the City of Scranton,” Mayor Cognetti said. “Our loan-to-grant program is helping business owners create job opportunities, and the American Rescue Plan Act allows us to add additional assistance to our community. The grants we’re announcing today will help businesses provide a living wage for their employees with a match from the City.”
In addition to the City’s existing ARPA grants for façade renovations and small business startup and expansion funding, businesses in operation before March 3, 2021, can apply for two rounds of funding. The first round of applications, for a total of $1 million closes on November 14, 2022. The second round of applications, with an additional $2 million available, continues through January 31, 2023.
Grants will allow small businesses the chance to recover losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in capital improvements to expand their operations. ARPA funds are also available for the City’s “wage boost” grant program, which will provide up to $50,000 over the course of two years to supplement wages for employees. The program could help Scranton achieve one of its 10-year economic development goals of closing the income gap between the median and livable wage.
Members of the City’s ARPA team will host a webinar on the grant opportunities on Friday, Oct. 28, at noon. Businesses can register today at www.bit.ly/arpabusiness2 .
“With this announcement of two federal grants for small businesses, I am glad to see the City of Scranton putting the funds to great use to support local businesses and workers as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. I admire Mayor Cognetti’s leadership and the commitment of the Office of Economic and Community Development to strengthening Scranton’s economy and supporting competitive wages,” said Rep. Cartwright. “I’m proud to bring back development resources, and I am grateful to see the positive impact the federal investment has had, and continues to have, on the lives of Northeastern Pennsylvanians.”
“Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan to provide a lifeline to communities struggling in the pandemic,” added Senator Casey. “I’m pleased to see the City of Scranton is using its funds to invest in small businesses and workers in the community. These grants will lift the wages of workers and help businesses expand, which will strengthen Northeastern Pennsylvania’s economy.”
Along with the impressive ARPA funding opportunities, Cooper’s Seafood House, 701 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, was awarded a loan-to-grant from the City for $105,000. Owned and operated by the Cooper family since 1948, the restaurant was an iconic landmark long before its various mentions on the hit NBC sitcom “The Office.” Per the award guidelines, borrowers must create one full-time equivalent job for every $35,000 borrowed. If all guidelines are met, the loan transfers to a grant with no repayment necessary.
Cooper’s utilized the loan-to-grant to install a tiki bar in its lighthouse overlooking North Washington Avenue and to open its own brewery. A brewmaster and additional staff have already been hired through the funding opportunity.
“We’re thrilled to be able to receive this money to put towards a great project,” Cooper’s Vice President and Secretary Paul Cooper said. “It was an easy process, and everyone was so helpful.”
“It’s amazing,” Cooper’s Treasurer Ryan Cooper added. “We love being in the City of Scranton, and we appreciate the support from this program.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT (ARPA) OF 2021: ARPA is a $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill. The City of Scranton has been awarded $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 2, 2023