State “bounceback” grants to benefit La Crosse area businesses

$10,000 are available for new and existing business owners who move into empty commercial properties around the state of Wisconsin.

This is a part of the $50 million “Main Street Bounceback Grant Program,” announced by Gov. Tony Evers in April. Missy Hughes, the secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, was in La Crosse today to talk about how the program could help the community.

“We wanted to help incentivize to fill up spots on our main streets,” Hughes said. “To make sure that we are supporting businesses that survived the pandemic but also, you know, supporting new entrepreneurs who want to come to our main streets.”

Hughes hopes this grant, by filling commercial spaces, will help businesses succeed that are already located on Main Street.

One of the businesses hoping to apply for the grant is Jules Coffee House, which is located in downtown La Crosse. The shop’s new owners hope to apply for the grant.

“We begun a new, small adventure within doing the coffee shop,” Co-Owner Aidan Fisher said. “We’re looking forward into investing into that, as well as setting up just a fund to take care of the shop if there were ever an emergency or something to go on.”

Businesses that opened in a vacant commercial space beginning January 1, 2021 or will open by June 2022 are eligible to apply. The business also has to certify it has not, or will not, vacate a space in order to become eligible, according to the WEDC website.

These funds are available from the American Recovery Plan Act. Grants will be distributed by WEDC’s regional partners.

To apply for the grant, interested applicants can fill out a form on the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s website.