Grants Help Local Business

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EUGENE, Ore. — Lane County is now taking applications for a $300,000 grant that would go toward helping local businesses grow.

Lane County leaders say they’re glad this program is back because it will help add more jobs to the local economy. Business owners say they’re grateful for the funds.

“When we did hear about it that there were funds available to add equipment to our brewery, we thought this is the perfect opportunity because we’re a small company and we have to do what we can to get a competitive advantage, to be able to grow, and we’re constantly putting money back, and we’re constantly putting money back into our company,” said Matt Van Wyk, Oakshire brewmaster.

The grant money from Lane County helped past recipient Oakshire Brewing in its $1.5 million expansion. The county contributed $75,000 of those dollars, which went to a new centrifuge.

“We’re now able with this centrifuge to make more beer. We’re able to be more environmentally sound by pulling the yeast out and composting that rather than going into the way stream, and we’re also able to have better shelf stability and better consistency in all the beers we’re producing,” Van Wyk said.

Lane County leaders hope more local businesses can benefit from this program.

“I think it’s a huge boost to our community. A lot of people see the value in even what small grants can do for our local businesses,” said Sarah Mizejewski, Lane County spokeswoman.

“Local businesses, you’re going to get a lot more diversity than you do with the big corporations,” said business owner Jeannine Navratil.

Jeannine Navratil says the grant money comes at the perfect time. She and her husband own a food cart downtown but want to expand.

“We do have a little bit of money saved that we can use. But if a grant was available, we would use it for kitchen equipment, the things that you need, the things that you need to get started in a restaurant,” Navratil said.

It’s businesses like Munchbox that Lane County tourism managers say are worth investing in.

“This really ends up being something that, because businesses want to give to your community, what a great opportunity this ultimately is,” said Sid Leiken, Lane County Commissioner.

Lane County leaders KEZI 9 News spoke with also mentioned these funds are allocated for this specific program, and they couldn’t go toward anything else like the county jail.

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