BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As Western New York marks one year since the Tops mass shooting, the community came together to honor the victims.
The tragedy also highlighted the need for help for small businesses in this community.
One year after the mass shooting, there’s been a lot of talk about there not being enough assistance on the city’s East Side particularly in the Jefferson Avenue community, however, after the Tops mass shooting, New York State pumped in millions of dollars to help out small businesses in this particular area.
Millions of dollars have been made available to these businesses through grant money. We’ve heard of some businesses that have taken advantage of grants from $5,000 all the way up to $100,000 and are doing remodeling projects or at least are in plans to do so.
We heard from one local coffee shop, Golden Cup Coffee that’s looking to relocate on the same block and create a new coffee shop that would be 100 percent owned by them.
“I applied for the HVAC to help I’m remodeling a building and I needed help to get the HVAC in and that’s what I applied for,” said Larry Stitts, the co-owner of Golden Cup Coffee, “You have to have property and you brought a proposal to the table on what you needed to improve your business as far as different things such as floors, doors, whatever, equipment.”
Premier Cigars also located on Jefferson Avenue, plans to do exterior and interior renovation work as well. They’re in the process of meeting with architects to do interior and exterior work.
“I think helping small businesses as a whole helps the community like with Mr. Stitts once he gets that business going he’ll be able to hire people, so it’s a great opportunity for everybody in the community,” said Robin Truesdale, co-owner of Premier Cigars.
Both businesses hope to be able to start reconstruction in the coming months.
Small business grants have also been made available through Erie County government.
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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.