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Scranton announces first five business startup, expansion grants from ARPA funds

Jan. 11—Scranton Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti announced Tuesday the first five businesses to receive creation and expansion grants totaling $350,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funding.

The grants come from $1.25 million in ARPA funds allocated by the city in May, Cognetti said during an announcement at Downtown Deli, 300 Biden St., which is one of the five recipients.

Under this category of grant funding, applicants can receive up to 25% of eligible costs in their startup or expansion project budget, with a $100,000 maximum grant per business.

About $900,000 remains in this category of funding. Applications remain open and funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The five grants and recipients announced Tuesday include:

—Downtown Deli: $77,234 toward the addition of catering services, including physical expansion of their downtown footprint along Biden Street for both food preparation and service. The Deli will also build a new accessible restroom.

—Little Wild Refillery, 343 N. Washington Ave., $19,376 for the ongoing support of the seven-month-old sustainable goods and zero-waste shop, including creation of a new part-time position. This business previously received a $5,000 Small Business Microgrant from the city.

—Nlyten Corp., doing business as GUIDE, located at the Scranton Enterprise Center, 201 Lackawanna Ave., $100,000 for the tech startup's creation of multiple full-time positions, with a focus on hiring recent graduates of local colleges and universities. The company anticipates a February 2023 launch of its GUIDE mobile app, which is designed to deliver proven behavioral health and wellness practices to veterans and first responders, empowering them to resolve past trauma, improve their well-being, and achieve their highest potential. Details can be found at www.theguideapp.com.

—Retro Café, 1139 Capouse Ave., $53,000 for the conversion of a former condemned Lackawanna County Land Bank property into a new café in Pine Brook. Funding supports construction costs, inventory, payroll and more. Retro Café previously received a $70,000 loan-to-grant from the city's Office of Economic and Community Development to help fund two new employees.

—Unison Workforce Technologies, at the Scranton Enterprise Center, $100,000 for ongoing development of its mobile application "FY$H — Fuel Your Side Hustle," an app designed to support the thriving self-employed gig economy. Grant funding will support user experience development, quality testing and an ambitious employment growth plan through 2025.

The $1.25 million funding comes out of the $68.7 million in ARPA funding that the city has received.

Check back for updates

emailto:Contact the writer: jlockwood@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5185; @jlockwoodTT on Twitter.