NJ Governor Visits Montclair Comic Shop to Highlight COVID Recovery Fund

MONTCLAIR, NJ — A popular comic book store in Montclair was visited by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy this week as his administration highlighted the state’s Main Street recovery program.

On Thursday, Murphy came to browse the shelves of East Side Mags, one of the New Jersey businesses that has benefited from the program. The comic book store recently moved from its former location at 7 South Fullerton Avenue to 491 Bloomfield Avenue.

“Small businesses like East Side Mags are essential to New Jersey’s vibrant and thriving main streets,” the governor said.

“As we move from pandemic to endemic, we must continue to support small businesses as they recover from the devastating impact of COVID-19,” Murphy added.

The Main Street Recovery Program — run by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) — would get a $50 million boost as part of the governor’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal.

Created under the Economic Recovery Act of 2020 (ERA), the program aims to help Garden State businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Two scholarships have been made available:

  • The Small Business Lease Assistance Grant provides funding to help businesses that have leased or expanded their commercial space in the last 12 months
  • The Small Business Improvement Grant reimburses recipients for 50% of the cost of capital improvements, furniture, fixtures and equipment in their facilities.

The funding has given a boost to businesses across the state, the governor’s office reported:

“The Main Street Recovery Program is budgeted to provide $100 million to support the growth and success of New Jersey small businesses. In just over six months, more than 200 small businesses have been approved for Small Business Lease Grant and 32 small businesses have been approved for the Small Business Improvement Grant since February.”

NJEDA has awarded nearly $5.5 million in grants under the Main Street Recovery Program since October, officials said.

The agency plans to open applications for a new micro-enterprise loan in early June, which will make additional funding resources available. Here’s how it works, officials said:

“The Main Street Micro-Business Loan will provide repayable working capital loans at 2% interest, with no interest or payment due for the first year. Qualifying New Jersey micro-businesses with 10 employees at full-time or less and no more than $1.5 million in annual revenue will be eligible to apply for funding up to $50,000. The micro business loan will be available to for-profit, non-profit, and domiciles with a commercial location in New Jersey and have been in business for at least six months. Funding will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

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Daniel K. Denny