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Duke Energy Storefront Revitalization Grant

The application for round two of the Duke Energy Storefront Revitalization Grant is CLOSED and no longer accepting applications. 

General Information

Storefront businesses have experienced unprecedented challenges in 2020. For most, the impact of COVID-19 has resulted in the closure and subsequent constraints on regular business practices. As advocates for a strong and vibrant Downtown Raleigh, Duke Energy and Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) offers this funding opportunity to help storefront businesses recover and adapt to a new environment. With the support of Duke Energy, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance is able to award revitalization grants to help businesses rebuild and pivot toward opportunities that will sustain operations through the coming months and years.

In the initial grant round, 63 downtown businesses were awarded over $288,000 in funding thanks to the generous support of Duke Energy. Read more about round one of the grant here.

Pivot Proposals

The grants will be award based on pivot proposals submitted through the application process. These grants may range from $500 up to $5,000 and are specifically intended to help businesses recover or “Pivot” as a result of COVID-19. A pivot may include adding enhanced service or commerce opportunities for the business to adjust to the effects of the current crises, such as modifying physical space, improving an e-commerce site for online sales, or expanding capacity for delivering goods and services. Some expenditures may include furniture for expanded outdoor dining, materials for construction of takeout windows, accessibility compliance for additional outdoor seating, additional fixtures required for compliance with public health issues, and building of e-commerce platforms, as well as other equipment or tools needed for creative adaptation and pivoting of businesses. 

While there are restrictions, detailed below, we encourage creative solutions that have the potential to strengthen each business’s likelihood of long-term success. 

*Please note in your application if your plan may require some assistance with permitting or other ordinances/policies.

Program Details

These grants are targeted to storefront businesses that have been adversely impacted by the events of the last nine months. This program seeks to quickly support businesses in regaining their ability to deliver goods and/or services directly to customers, within the parameters of state and local safety regulations/ordinances.  

  • Total funding pool = $90,000
  • This is a reimbursement grant. Approved applicants will be responsible for paying for all expenses upfront, documenting the expenses, and submitting receipts for approval prior to being reimbursed. Instructions to do so will be provided.
  • Grant applications will be accepted from November 20th – midnight on December 7th.
  • Grants will be reviewed by a committee, appointed by DRA, during the week following the December 7th deadline. 
  • Grantees will be notified the week of December 21st.
  • Grant funds will be distributed as reimbursements within two weeks of submission of the completed reimbursement request. (All receipts must be submitted simultaneously.)
  • Grant funds will be awarded up to $5,000 per business Tax ID.
  • The amount of funding will depend on the pivot proposal meeting the criteria of the grant, costs incurred by the business, and availability of funds. 
  • Not all applicants are guaranteed funds.
  • Owners with multiple downtown businesses may submit more than one application but the total amount awarded to any owner/corporate group will not exceed $5,000 or one grant per business Tax ID. An effort will be made to make grants to as many businesses as possible first.
  • Grantees will be notified of approved expenditures as part of the grant award notification communication. Payments will be issued as reimbursements for documented and approved expenditures.
  • All approved pivot proposals must be completed (documentation submitted & payments disbursed) no later than February 28, 2021.
  • There are no restrictions based on other grants or loans received, but we do require information on if any other recovery grants or loans have been received.
  • Expenses may date back to September 1st, 2020 if they are documented and clearly connected to the goals of this program. 

Criteria for Qualifying

The goal of this program is to spread funds as widely as possible while still having a measurable impact.  We want to help you get back to business quickly and efficiently. Prior to accessing the grant application, you will be asked a number of qualifying questions that may preclude your eligibility. The questions address the following qualifications.

  • The business must be a storefront or consumer-facing business in downtown Raleigh. A business is eligible to apply if it is inside the downtown element boundary OR inside any of the district boundaries as depicted in the map. For a map of district lines, visit here. (Retailers, restaurants, and personal services not located on the ground floor are still eligible to apply.)
  • Businesses must be open and operating as of December 31st, 2020. 
  • Businesses must be locally owned and independently operated. 
  • Franchises are eligible to apply if all conditions are met: they are owned in majority by an area resident (an area resident is defined as living within a 50-mile radius of Downtown Raleigh), the owner has full decision-making functions, and the franchise has no more than 10 outlets. 
  • The business must be legally incorporated or organized (Tax ID number will be required).
  • The business currently must have 50 employees or fewer.
  • The applicant business must be the occupant of downtown property and be willing to provide proof of occupancy. If the applicant is a tenant, landlord confirmation will be required via lease or acknowledgment from the landlord verifying currently a tenant.
  • Changes to the property itself must be undertaken after appropriate permits from the City of Raleigh and permission from the property owner.
  • If your business is closed due to state and/or federal mandates, you are eligible to apply. However, a proposal being contingent on restrictions being lifted may affect the review committee’s scoring priority of your application. 
  • Exclusions: Businesses owned by or affiliated with any member of the current DRA board of directors or current DRA investors and financial supporters are not allowed to apply and will not be considered at all.

Ineligible Expenses 

  • Payment to the business owner(s) or employees (directly or indirectly) for services rendered 
  • Loss of revenue 
  • Building maintenance 
  • Payroll 
  • Rent 
  • Utilities 
  • Advertising 
  • Day-to-day operations 
  • Replacing damaged inventory 
  • Materials and labor to board up 
  • Personal property used in connection with the business 
  • Expenses unrelated to the pivot proposal 

Grant Process

  • The application is an online form that will be linked here, on this webpage, on Friday, November 20th. If you require assistance or an accessible form, please contact us.
  • The deadline to apply is midnight on December 7th, 2020. 
  • DRA also reserves the right to request supporting documents to supplement your application.
  • DRA has appointed a committee to review and score all grant applications under consideration. The awarding of funds and review of eligible expenditures is solely at the discretion of DRA.
  • DRA will give written notice to each applicant of the approval or disapproval of each grant application. 
  • This is a reimbursement grant. Approved applicants will be responsible for paying for all expenses upfront, documenting the expenses, and submitting receipts for approval prior to being reimbursed. Instructions to do so will be provided.
  • Approved applicants will receive instructions on documentation that will be required for reimbursement. 
  • Reimbursement will be in the form of one check after all receipts and invoices have been submitted.
  • Recipients of awards will receive Tax Form 1099 based on the recipient’s status. Determining if receipt of such funds is taxable requires the recipient to consult with their own tax advisor.
  • Unless specifically arranged in advance and approved by DRA, grant-supported expenditures and reimbursements must be concluded by February 28th, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions & Additional Information

Click here to review FAQ regarding the Storefront Revitalization Grant.

DRA hosted a grant workshop to share more details about the grant program and learn from downtown businesses that have pivoted their business model due to COVID-19 impacts. Keep in mind that the workshop focused on round one of the grant and some criteria have changed for round two. View a recording of that webinar here.

Contact Information

For more information about applying for this program, contact:

Roxanne Lundy
Project Manager

Program Sponsor